To High Street and Back Again

Friday, February 5, 2010

I’ve started running again.

Remember how I said the world teaches you something about yourself every day? Yesterday, my run taught me a few things, so I thought I’d share.

First, I haven’t run in weeks. I’d been doing the Avon and Komen Walks and was kind of giving myself a break, but since I’m training for the Napa Triathlon (May) and the NYC Marathon (November), I thought I’d better start running again. Thanks to an AWESOME song from DJ Earworm, I cranked up my iPhone and hit the road with a spring in my step.

About a mile and a half into my run, I looked up to see what I thought was a chain link fence across my path, just as I was trying to decide if I was going for a “short” (30-45 minutes) run or a “long” (> 1 hour) run. “Aw, man,” I whined… only to see that my path wasn’t actually blocked off; there was a new fence but it didn’t even come close to blocking me. There I go again, I thought. Seeing obstacles that aren’t there. I chuckled and thought, how often do we make up roadblocks in our head? How many times would we see a clear path before us, if we only took a second look? Lucky for me, I kept moving.

Next, I told myself I was going to run up every hill I could. I run/walk, running for 3-4 minutes, then taking a 1-2 minute walk break. I usually walk the hills, but yesterday, I felt different. The music I was listening to gave me energy, and it was beautiful outside. I felt strong, and proud of myself for getting up early to workout.

There is one stretch of my route that always makes me want to sprint – it’s long and straight, and right in the middle of two hills. When I got to it today, a remix of The Fray’s “You Found Me” came on, and when I heard the line, I found God, which is in my favorite DJ Earworm song, I suddenly choked up. I thought of all the times, before my battle with cancer, that I said the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, that I asked God to make me a channel of His peace, and how cancer was a kind of an answer to a prayer, but not the answer I wanted. The words of the song, as my feet hit the pavement over and over, as my heart beat harder and harder, both hurt me and strengthened me, making me think about how far I’ve come, how I’m not in a hospital today getting my gallbladder taken out or having a bone marrow transplant, how I was running, running for Godssakes! As the song finished, I hit the bottom of the hill, and there, sitting on the edge of the trail, was a black cat, looking at me.

Now, I’m not superstitious, but as I ran by it, I was so exhilarated – by the run, by the song – that I said, “I DARE you! I DARE you!” The cat, of course, just looked at me like I was nuts. What can I say? In that moment, I felt invincible.

I ran/walked ten miles yesterday, in about an hour and fifty minutes – an eleven-minute mile. Pretty frickin’ awesome, considering I could barely run/walk two miles in June, at 16 minutes a mile. I guess it shows what you can do, with the right music and the right motivation.