Occasionally I am asked why I run. I have been accused of being a little obsessive about it. The answer is simple: to make me appreciate walking.
In a sentence; running makes my life more intense. While many people seek a numbness, to block out the routine of life, I run to make it more meaningful.
The slightly uncomfortable feeling of running just a little faster than your body would like to, makes the act of walking seem a little more heavenly. And the sense of accomplishment lingers long after the run has stopped. So as silly as it sounds, running makes you appreciate walking.
It also makes you appreciate bathing. There is nothing like a shower after a long run. There are no routine showers in a runner’s life. We don’t jump in and rinse off in order to wake up. We actually need a shower. We are sticky and stinky and either very hot or very cold. Stepping into a hot shower after a 20 degree winter run feels like a welcome hug from a long dead parent. And stepping into a cool shower after a 90 degree summer run feels like putting out a breathless fire. It’s intense. It’s real. It’s a good thing.
If you have ever been pregnant (and I guess I am just talking to the ladies right now), than you probably remember how good food tasted when you were seven months along. It was probably your body telling you to eat because you really needed the calories while making a human life. Well when you run, food tastes really good (as do certain ales). When you go out and burn 600 calories, your body needs fuel to repair the micro-tears in your muscles and replace lost calories. Eating is intense, it is deserved, it’s is a good thing.
And while many people suffer from insomnia, are plagued by sleepless nights and painful days because of it, runners tend to sleep hard and well. When I finally lay my body down on my bed at night I never fail to sigh out loud and pronounce my bed ‘the most comfortable bed in the world’. And then five minutes later I am sound asleep in heavenly bliss. I seldom ever lay awake and if I do it is only long enough for me to convince myself that we can discuss the persistent issue on the run in the morning.
While I once needed therapy… probably… a long time ago…, I don’t any more. As a matter of fact, I used to suffer from seasonal depression. Since I began running I have never felt better. I begin my day with an hour to myself where I focus on all of the pressing issues in my life. I organize my grocery list, my finances, and my future. I plan the kids’ school day, I bounce problems around until solved and I return with all the answers. There is something about the blood flow to your brain that makes thinking clearer and answers more attainable. Who needs therapy when I have running (and a run clubJ)?
Of course it’s not just running that does all these good things for me. Running has to share credit with biking, swimming, yoga and hiking. I would include my occasional weight workout but I haven’t learned to appreciate it yet. All it seems to do is make the other things more painful the next day.
As Lexington gets the label of being the laziest city in the country, I challenge Scott County to become more active. I encourage you to talk to your legislators, tell them you want more trails where you and your family can walk and run and bike safely. And until it actually happens let’s all get out and move. Go ahead and get uncomfortable because after all, it will help you appreciate the rest of your life.
I imagine, if I were adopted, I would be able to relate more to the pain this woman experiences. I can only assume the author was adopted, or at the very least has much experience with the feeling of a person who has been.
The main character, Jan, is a runner…and that I can relate to. I understood her sometimes crazy thinking when it came to the desire to meet goals…even when her goals were keeping her from something she wanted very badly.
I could also relate to achieving those goals and giving yourself permission to move on to more important things.
The story is detailed, many interesting characters weave their way through the book ultimately coming together nicely in one of the most intense final chapters I have ever read.
Over all the book is nicely put together, easy to read and entertaining throughout.
The newspaper editor swears he ran this story, but I never saw it. So here it is, just for you…one of my favorites.
(Fourth of Animal Antics Series)
If you wonder what compels me to ride my bike 100 miles a week, it is not just for the social outlet, it is also because I am a triathlete. My long therapy rides with Mary are also training rides.
My most proud/embarrassing animal-rescue-bike-ride involves a 30 mile solo ride. Mary couldn’t ride on this virtuous morning so I set out alone. This loop goes through sections of Fayette and Bourbon County and tends to have more commuter traffic than our more remote routes in Scott County. I was on a mission, I wanted to average over 17 miles an hours. So I assumed a nice tuck whenever possible and focused on speed.
As I headed down the road, surrounded by thoroughbred farms, I passed a dead possum. This is not unusual as you know; they are common road kill in these parts. But as I glanced back I noticed this dead possum was different, something wasn’t right. I hesitantly came to a stop, risking a sub 17 mile per hour ride, and pedaled back to the not yet bloated carcass.
I was right, it was dead. But on its tummy, squirming in and out of its pouch were half a dozen or so little pink bodies. Her babies were still alive… (insert your favorite sound effect here…eek! Ew! Blahh!Hmmm?)
Lucky for me, she was hit next to a driveway. I pulled my bike off the road and began unloading my under-the-seat-flat-repair-pouch, shoving its contents into my behind-the-handlebars-bento box. Then I glanced at the dead possum. Blunt trauma to the head. She didn’t suffer.
I reached down, shoved my hand into the cold pouch of the dead beast and grasped the slightly wet and sticky body of the pink possum baby. I pulled and much to my surprise, the thing was attached and refused to let go of its mother. “Come on! Let go! She’s dead already. I’m trying to save you!” I decided to get tough and yanked. It let go of the nipple and I shoved it into my newly emptied bike pouch/bag. As I reached down to grab another one I heard the sound of an oncoming car. Instantly I let go, turned away from the dead animal and begin to pretend I was tying my shoe.
At this point, I am assuming most motorist are not aware that bike shoes do not have laces, they have Velcro and they don’t become untied while biking. I am also pretending that it is not strange that I chose to ‘tie my shoe’ right next to the carcass of a possum. The truck passed, I resumed my rescue. Another one goes into the bike pouch. Each time a car passed I would ‘tie my shoe’, then resume.
Eventually I had seven live babies. I felt around deep into the dead animals pouch, searching for another moving baby, but the rest were cold and dead. It was time to zip up the bike pouch and go.
With a sad farewell to the dead possum mommy, I hit start on my wrist Garmin again and set out for home. The adrenaline of the rescue carried me. I averaged 18 miles an hour when I got to my driveway, a personal record!
Once in the house I greeted my family with a smirk. They knew instantly that I was up to my antics. I showed them my find and they followed orders like nurses in a surgery room. They brought me a heating pad, some baby blankets, the kitten milk replacer. My kids watched with excitement as the little pink possums slowly came back to life. I discouraged the kids from getting too attached, as they couldn’t stay with us, I am not licensed to rehab wild animals (believe it or not).
Once they were warm and fed, I found the number of a local licensed rehabber and delivered the little guys to her. The rehabber promised to send pictures of the little buggers as they grow. I am anxiously awaiting their arrival.