I’m preparing to re-introduce running into my life. This introduction will be different from the previous introductions, I hope. This time running will not be demanding and brash, as it was on our previous encounters. Instead, it will be genteel and well mannered, and will be welcomed.
In the past decade, I have run a number of times, mainly darting after small children to prevent various types of naughtiness. But, if you’re only counting actual “lace up your shoes and head out for a run” runs, I’ve been running twice in the last ten years. Every few years, that flame of inspiration is ignited and flares up, wildly. “I need exercise. I need to get in shape. I’ll start running tomorrow!” And I do. Both times that I’ve started running, the weather has been at an extreme. I head out the door, determined that I’ll run such and such small distance (because anything less would be wussy) and I’ll build up each day from there. I arrive home, stitches in my sides, gasping for breath around the ice shards in my lungs, declare, “That sucked!” and relegate my running shoes to day to day wear until the mood strikes me again 5 years later. The flame of inspiration flickers pitifully, and dies, killed by a single run.
I ran cross-country in junior high and high school. Then, my commitment to running lasted whole seasons. I enjoyed it, mainly for the social aspect of training with a group and the competitions. But I was, at best, mediocre. I came across the finish line somewhere in the middle of the pack every time and the last thing my gait could be called is graceful. In fact, two of my running mates mocked my stride. Richard told me I had chicken legs and then he and Aaron would run ahead of me, flinging their heels out to the sides as they ran. The infuriating thing was that, somehow, even while running the exaggerated caricature of my run, they were both still faster than I was so I had no choice but to watch them as I took up the rear.
This time, however, running is behaving like a gentleman. Instead of barging in as a flash in the pan idea of my own, running knocked at the door in the form of a suggestion from my sister and only entered the room when I invited it in after considering the idea for a couple of weeks. Instead of grabbing my arm, hauling me out the door, and insisting that I go, right now, running has gently suggested that I actually spend some time researching the best way to start and that I form a plan. And, instead of cracking a whip and chasing me down the sidewalk right off the bat, running will simply be accompanying me on casual strolls for the first couple of weeks as I ease in gradually.
So you see why I’m hopeful that this time running and I will be able to form a meaningful and lasting relationship. I look forward to the many physical, mental, and emotional benefits that I can expect to experience from my participation in this alliance. And, as a little extra insurance to make sure I stay committed long enough to actually reap said benefits, I’ve registered and paid the entrance fees for three summer 5Ks. I’ll let you know how it goes.