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Posts Tagged ‘running’

Not only can, but do

This afternoon,
I ran for the first time
in months.

(Sometimes,
a girl’s just gotta
feel the wind against
her face as her feet
propel her
forward.)

Near the end
of my run, I saw
the woman who called
me a whore.

Her older
children stood
on the sidewalk,
and shouted after
me about the fat
white lady
jiggling.

I raised
a bird for them,
which shut them up.

And then,
when I reached
the opposite corner, I turned
around and ran back.

The boys jumped
back as I plowed
through. “Sorry,”
said one.

“Yeah,”
I said
as I
ran
on.

I
smiled,
looping
back on
the other
side of the
street.

Do they
think they
could possibly
say anything
I haven’t
already
heard
on
dozens
of
runs
before?

This
is
L.A.;
the only
way you
run is with
confidence
that no words
can hurt more
than running
heals.

I’ve run
two marathons,
and, barefoot,
a half marathon.

While they
sit idle and sling
harsh words, I’ll keep
running … running
toward something
better than
just sitting
around cars,
shouting
at the
people
who not
only can,
but
do.

Summited K2! Oh, wait.

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Skirt suit and sneakers

A woman
with close-cropped
silver hair
runs in
the shade
of trees
lining one side
of my company’s
campus

Her running attire
makes me grin:
A skirt suit and
a pair of
sneakers

As she finishes
this part of her run,
waiting to cross the street
back to her office complex,
she catches me watching her
and turns her head away
quickly before
booking it
across the street

I hope she saw in my smile
not “How weird!”
but “Heck, yeah!”

If I see her running again,
I’ll thank her for
inspiring me
to know more deeply:
It’s not what you wear
or how you might look
to random passersby
while doing the thing
that matters,
but the motion itself!

Better to run
in what you have
with the time you have
than to wait for
just the right
everything,
which can indeed be
an extremely rare
alignment of
circumstance!

Running toward them

Today I wore
a silly pair of sneakers
to work, having donated
a dollar to charity
for the privilege

image

I didn’t think
much of the shoes
when I laced them up
this morning

Nor did I wonder
why I have been
itching to run
after not
wanting
to run
for
months

Then
an office friend
and I got to talking
about them, and I
discovered
my recent
urge to run
isn’t really
arbitrary

My mom
died of cancer
six years ago
tomorrow

Six months
after she died,
my siblings and I
ran a half marathon
for a cancer charity
in her memory

I wore
toe sneakers then,
at least until I got
so fed up with their
sogginess in the
Portland rain
that I
took them off
and ran the last
seven miles or so
barefoot

image

(So.
Much.
Better.)

I ran

We ran

We transformed
our love and
our grief
into movement;
into hope;
into a chance
for change

Our mom
was still gone
when we finished
running, but we
were still there:
in the struggle,
in the sogginess,
in the victory of
finishing
inspired
by love

And so,
this afternoon,
as I look at these
silly sneakers,
I see
I want
to run
because
running is,
for me,
a celebration
of life,
of hope,
of love,
of Mom

And I see
that I want
you to run
not only peek
in the direction
of your dreams,
thinking not
of how far
away they
appear
right
now
but
of
how
much
closer
they will be
if only you
will start
running
toward
them

Categories: Death, Grief, Love Tags: , , , , ,

I am

Running & a middle school boy’s wisdom

My son and husband are watching a televised track meet being held in my hometown.

My mom used to take my siblings running along that track. We were all fast runners, something I thought we’d inherited from our dad until my mom’s cousin exclaimed how fast she always ran.

I was in middle school the one and only time I was chosen first for a team. My P.E. teacher explained my class would be running various durations for the next several weeks. She’d pool each team’s time for each run and tally them at the end. The team ending the challenge with the shortest total running time would get a school store credit.

Tim, a quiet boy I knew only as a skater, was named a team leader. He was told he could choose before other team leaders. He named me without skipping a beat.

I was shocked. A weirdo in weird clothes, I was always chosen last or close to it. It never occurred to me that a middle schooler might choose teammates based not on popularity but skill. Indeed, many adults haven’t mastered this! Read more…

I could run!

I only started running because I didn’t want to waste time getting to the gym.

I hated it at first, but kept going because I liked how it made me feel afterward. My 20-minute runs gradually crept up to 60 and 90 minutes.

A couple weeks before the 2004 L.A. marathon, one of my roommates said after one of my longer runs, “You’re running so much, you should run the L.A. marathon.”

I mulled it over for a few seconds before saying, “Okay. If I can run three hours tomorrow, I’ll run the marathon.”

I texted her from the ocean many miles from our apartment the next day, letting her know (a) I was texting midstride and (b) the run wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought. I’d likely be running the marathon.

“You ran to the ocean?!” she texted back.

I did up running the marathon. Good thing, too, because the picture of my final moments of the run has been my inspiration for doing many things I thought I couldn’t do. I spent the last ten miles wishing I’d pass out so I could stop running; the picture only turned out looking victorious because a stranger shouted encouragement when I reached the last block.

Summited K2! Oh, wait.

L.A. finish

I crumpled in a parking lot and wept when I finished that run. 4:27. I didn’t really think I could do it, but I had.

Running had already become something to me–something more than saving time getting to and from the gym–but it became something more as I inched my way up city bus steps shortly after finishing my run. Read more…

Running While Walking

“What, no book today?” a neighbor hollers at me, momentarily pausing her yard work to chat.

“Nope, today I just want to listen,” I reply with a smile.

“That’s good, too. Be safe!”

By the time I wish her a happy evening, she’s already focused on watering her lawn.

10/30/11: Reading While Walking revisitedA couple of years ago, a conversation like this wouldn’t have happened. I was too busy readwalking to care about little things like neighbors, scenery or road traffic. To be fair, I only failed to notice the street once, as I wrote about in my Freshly Pressed post “Reading While Walking.”

Many things have changed since I wrote “Reading While Walking.” It would be simplistic to pin this change on any one factor, or two, or three. And yet three have easily been most influential:

1. Reading The Gift of Fear. Readwalking in the city is like gazelles doing disco outside a lion’s den. Readsitting is much safer.
2. “Mindfulness” landed on my radar as a real thing, not just a hippie concept to (discreetly) giggle at.
3 (or is it 2.1?). I started walking–well, mostly walking–with my son, Li’l D.

You know how adults say “I’d only run from a bear” or “I run for donuts”? Not so for Li’l D, for whom walking is that slow, slightly tedious thing you do when adults won’t let you book it. (Terrible, cruel adults!)

d running

When we go walking, we make it up to eight steps before Li’l D asks, “Can we run now? Or at that tree? Or at that sign?” He’s usually started running before I can even answer, forcing me to keep up until one or both of us are out of breath. Read more…

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