I recently underwent a heart wrenching, soul-shaking life experience. My world crashed down around me. Breathing hurt. Long story short, I was in emotional pain. I felt completely and totally lost and alone. Friends attempted to console me. Co-workers took cover, waiving tissues. I spent many nights laying in the dark, listening to Reggae, crying till sleep mercifully claimed me. Not my proudest moments. And clearly not moments that could continue if I were to reclaim my sanity.
Luckily, I belong to a running club. And I made a commitment to run Wednesday evenings. I knew that I would need to lace up before then as I am already behind the curve on my return to running. Rufus, my fearless, furry running partner strapped on his harness and out we went. I learned many things about myself. One of them is that it is possible to pace a stubborn dog to the beat of your sobs…and that my new ear buds really do cancel all noise. Thank God for that…and for Dubstep…Dubstep strangely comforted me this last week. Chaotic noise with thumping bass overwhelmed my senses and soothed me.
I run in a peaceful, tucked away neighborhood. The lovely residents adopted me as one of their own. I informed them that I was not a native, but these strangers loved me anyways. Through their general happy disposition, constant excitement upon seeing Rufus, and all around awesomeness, I began to thaw and smile.
Wednesday arrived and it was time to run with my club. Wednesdays are for slower runners and beginners. Last week, 2 other people showed and they were not slow…at all! This week, I drove to the meeting spot, apprehensive about my ability and demeanor. I stepped out of the vehicle and was amazed by the sheer number of runners this week. Our youngest runner was 5 and our oldest was 75. We had teens, serious runners, speed walkers, energetic kids, track runners and two dogs. I felt at home. We began and I slipped right into the cadence of the group. Run 3 minutes, walk 1. I listened to the other runners. I enjoyed the camaraderie and kept up. The realization struck me that I enjoyed myself. I felt good. I felt purposeful.
I left the group run, thinking about running. I began planning next week’s run. I committed to a second lap. I began preparing, same as before, harnessed puppy in tow. I didn’t need to pace myself or Rufus. I muted my Runkeeper, and ignored my watch. We found a cadence and enjoyed the run. Rufus needs about two miles before he is worn out enough to slow down to my speed and I need about two miles to warm up and find my groove. Once this sublime moment occurred, we hit a stride that was pure joy.
I am looking forward to this Wednesday. My running group might not realize it, but they saved me from my morose and self-pity. I will run, because I am part of a running group and I made a commitment. Running has replaced my sadness with determination, grit and joy. Running is a miracle!