Friday, August 19, 2016

The Longest Mile

Sometimes I set off for a run thinking that run will be THE run. The run that feels the best, the one that is the easiest, the one that gets me inspired, the one that tops all the other miles. And then sometimes, that run is the longest. 

I always seem to go back to running and it always seems to teach me something, whether I mean for it to, or not. We have our own relationship. We love each other but some runs are more volatile and some are less eventful. It certainly is kind of amazing when I think about all the miles I’ve put in and it certainly feels like I’ve accomplished not much when I look at my run tracker and see how slow I’ve gotten. I like to think, I’ve become “deliberate” more so than just really damn slow.

Being “deliberate” has its perks though. I’ve always loved just enjoying the way the foot strikes, how it sounds, how the rocks crush against each other, how the pavement smacks the sole and how the dirt kicks up onto my legs. 

The sun was out on this run, the longest mile, the run I wanted to go on, but just couldn’t physically make myself do; the run that smelled right, felt right, sounded right, the right shoes, the right socks, the right shorts, the right music. I could hear the people at the lake finally allowed to swim again after swimming warnings were lifted. I could hear men laughing as they were fishing. PS, I thought you were supposed to be quiet to catch fish. I could see the sun glisten off the water, which was slapping a little off the rocks. 

I felt good, the run felt right and then, a mile in, I just stopped. I stopped, turned around and walked to a spot by the lake, climbed over the rocks, got caught in the strongest of spider webs, took off my shoes and laid all the way back on the flat rocks. I soaked in the sun, I soaked in the music of the lake, I soaked it all in. I breathed in deep and just enjoyed my moment. I felt sad for a few breaths, felt frustrated, scared and relaxed. For a moment, I felt relaxed, like life was normal. Because this new life is my new normal and at times it really sucks. Then there are points of strong quiet when I know life is good and will be alright. That peaceful feeling hasn’t happened a lot over the last six weeks of living, but it happened on this mile.

I didn’t really think I had taken much time, but when I got back to the car (which was not even a quarter mile from my respite spot on the flat rocks) the mile had taken me 41:55. I got lost in the run which turned into a moment that turned into the longest mile. 

The miles are more than just miles, they’re junctures of healing, of release, relaxation and occasions to drink in the beauty all around. It was the longest mile and it felt like just a blip of time. It was time well spent. 

Be careful and happy running, y’all.  

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