April 19, 2013

What running means to me

Last night I ran for Boston.  I donned my Red Sox garb and a red and blue star print running skirt and headed out into my neighborhood for 4.09 miles.

I found solace in the quiet of the end of the day.  I finally started truly processing the impact of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing.  It really shook me up on Monday.  I had spent the afternoon panicking about runners and spectators we knew, about the safety of friends of friends, strangers and anyone in harm's way.  I agonized for the runners who just fell short of 26.2 and never made it to the finish line on Boylston.  My heart broke for the injured and deceased and their families.  This is just not supposed to happen at the Boston marathon...a celebration of fitness, health and profound personal accomplishment.  I felt drained, exhausted and quite simply, sad.  I didn't have it in me to run on Monday night...strange, I know.  Instead I headed to the pool.  I worked out hard. I needed to blow off steam and I needed time in my own head.  The pool is good for me for those moments. 

It's taken me a little bit of time to properly discern and articulate my feelings (other than the obvious shock, horror and sadness) and clarify at least for myself why the devastating news from Monday shook me to my core. It's simple. Running is a part of my life and who I am.  It's shaped my life in ways I couldn't imagine.  It saved me from a very sad, dark time in life.  It's part of my DNA now.

I have met and made friends with people whom I never would have otherwise crossed paths.  We care about each other through good runs and bad, PRs and disappointments, chafing and carbo loading.  It's a fraternity of black toenails, hydration and mind-numbing long runs.  They know more about my daily activities (generally including some sort of workout) than some of my best friends. We track each other's races via live race updates and cheer each other on, pretty much daily through the ether on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.  I guarantee they know more about my left knee trouble than my best friend.

Running has strengthened my relationship with my Mom.  We talk more than I remember in the past.  And it may be a simple text sharing a great blog we read, our latest training run, a PR dream, complaints of achy muscles or a virtual high five, but there is constant support.  She may always beat me across the finish line, but it's changed out relationship for the better. She supports me through the ups and downs, always my cheerleader and yet, knows when it's ok to tell me the truth, even if its ugly. 

I've seen new places...on foot.  Before I ran, I hadn't been down most of the streets in my neighborhood.  Now I know the residence of the nice doggies, cute children playing outside and pretty spring flowers.  My neighbors often wave as I jog by.  They seem to know me as the runner girl now.  And I've jogged with friends around Norfolk and Virginia Beach, often noticing parts of the cities that I wouldn't from a car whizzing by.  You could say I've gained a greater perspective into the area I live. 

Running provides me with endless physical and metaphysical benefits.  Its head-clearing powers are unparalleled. It gives me quiet time to think, brainstorm about projects at work, write my next blog post (this one was 'written' on last night's run) and contemplate my next race/baking project/purse purchase.  I've learned to be thankful for the ability to pound the pavement.  I take care of my body so I can continue to enjoy these benefits. Inevitably there will come a day when I can no longer run...whether that's by choice or not, remains to be seen.  But until then, I will take refuge in the physical and mental by-products of my sport.

I've gained confidence in myself as a 'whole' person - physically, mentally and emotionally.  Maybe it's the support network, maybe it's my (mostly) jiggle-free muscular legs, maybe it's the quiet time in my head...I'm not quite sure there is a single reason.  But I am forever grateful that I discovered this sport.  And tonight, I ran for those that could not.
{Christine}

18 comments:

  1. Amen sister[s]! I have more motivation to push and push harder now!

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    1. We do too. So scary today....I called my Mom early and told her to stay inside. She is one town removed from those under watch.

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  2. Beautiful! This is exactly why it feels so personal - because it is. And I'm proud to be one of the people cheering you on, Christine! -Princess Jodi

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    1. Thanks Jodi. You know we are cheerleaders for you as well. Runners are the best!

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  3. Can't really add anything to this other than, well said Christine. You took the words right out out of my own head. I too have family all over that area, including Waltham, which is right next to Waterton. Thankfully they're okay but it still seems like the whole world is going crazy. Again.

    Kimberley

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    1. Kimberley, this whole situation is beyond comprehension. My aunt/Pam's sister is a resident of Watertown. Thankfully she is on vacation in the Caribbean and is safe. So glad your relatives are okay as well, but of course we are heartbroken for those who have been injured/killed and those in jeopardy now.

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  4. Sweet..Sweet blog post~ So much of what you say rings true...
    Love the running community...and so appreciate this blog of you and your Mom's. Love you two!

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa. We love the running community too....so supportive and kind.

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  5. Love this post so much. Running has brought many of us together, become an outlet from the world and brought so much positivity in our lives! Your words are beautiful - and I'm even more excited it's brought your mom and you closer! Love you two! :)

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    1. Thanks Megan. We feel so blessed to have made so many friends through running.

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  6. Well said and very heartfelt Christine. Your running relationship with your mom reminds me of mine. -M

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    1. Thanks so much and love hearing that you run with your Mom too!

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  7. This is a great post, beautifully written!!! What an amazing relationship you have with your mom, that is great!

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  8. This is a great post, Christine. Thank you for sharing! I love your shirt/hat! :0)

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    1. Thanks, both Mom and I are big Red Sox fans, not to mention my Dad!

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  9. Great post Christine. So much of it rings true (expect maybe the part about the jiggle-free thighs, but I'm getting there). I went back to re-read the "saved me" post too. Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts with us.

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  10. Wow! Great blog, here!!! Thank you for sharing!!

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