|Courtesy of intographics on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.|
Not me in real life.
I never, ever counted on falling in love with it.
How wrong I've been in life, repeatedly. (See previous post, "But What If We're Wrong?") These days, although I don't run every step of the way, I can put in four miles and am running much of it at about a 10 minute pace. It is an enormous achievement that I am proud of. Not everyone starts running at 60.
I was never an athlete, you understand. I was the high school brain and ended up salutatorian without trying very hard. (Not a brag--I loved schoolwork and it simply happened. I didn't know my class position until the beginning of my second semester senior year.) I've traditionally enjoyed intellectual pursuits and artistic endeavors, not getting all sweaty. I thought sweaty was gross. While I've always liked to walk and used to run a lot just for fun as a kid, I was definitely not an athlete in HS, except for part of one season spent as a second-string basketball guard. (Got kicked off the team for smoking cigarettes. Poets often smoke, you know.)
I found that exercise in general, but especially running, was exceedingly beneficial in the dark years after September 15, 2008. It helped me feel better about myself at a time when I had a shitty self-image and too many feelings to contain inside me, including some extremely toxic ones. Running helped me expel frustration and fear and anger--no, make that rage, not merely anger. I often worked out listening to Green Day's "Twenty-First Century Breakdown" and "American Idiot." (And still do...)
Yesterday, I did four miles. Today, I went to the gym and ran on the indoor track, then exhausted myself on the rower and weight machines because of the sadness I felt. The music director of our church, probably 40 years younger than me with his whole life ahead of him, is leaving for a Big City Up North. I'm certain this man will go far and make a name for himself in the music world. I am completely happy and excited for him and his new opportunities. But I am, quite selfishly, sad for us at my church, and for me. It's going to suck without him and his snarky wit around. Hands down, he's the best choir director I've ever known, and I've known a few. He's also a damn fine human being.
Thankfully, running is my friend. It helps me unwind the spooky energy that builds in me when I am overfull of feelings. It quite literally has saved my sanity at times. I've occasionally cried while running. Today was one of those times.