Archive for November 8th, 2009

Use It Before You Lose It

Today was a balmy sunny 68 degrees F.  In southwestern Pennsylvania, in the middle of November, this is truly a gift.  The whole weekend was like this.  A double bonus.

fall

Perfect November day

I know I swore I’d never do another 5K race.  Last year, unlike so many other years, none of us did the local 5K Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving morning.  I remember how warm and happy and grateful I felt that morning as I snuggled under the covers and listened to the cold rain pouring down.  I not only wasn’t running the race, but I didn’t even have to go out and support any family members.  This year, however, Youngest Son said to sign him up.  Then I asked the other family members if they wanted to run.  Oldest Son said, “Of course.”  Then they all proceeded to get on my case.  And I figured if I had to get up and go out anyways, I might as well run.  And as much as my life will suck for a short time that morning, I’ll feel less guilty as I’m stuffing my face with turkey and gravy later that day.

So yesterday I took advantage of the beautiful day and ran my nearly 5K practice course.  As usual, it both felt good and yet hurt at the same time.  The thing that usually makes me want to stop running and slow down to a walk, a discomfort in my midsection, was a little more acute than usual.  It’s usually worse when I run uphill, or try to sprint.  But yesterday I felt like I had just been punched in the solar plexus, and I wasn’t on a hill, and I wasn’t running fast.  I realized that is the sensation I hate most about running!

While I was running today, I started getting that feeling again.  I thought about the mantras my sons use to keep themselves running and to try to inspire me not to give up.  “Quitting is not an option,” Youngest Son tells himself.  And somehow he can convince himself not to ever quit.  “Embrace the suck,” Oldest Son learned as he pushed himself through a very rigorous Army basic training.  But, alas, poor old mama wants to embrace nothing more than a nice warm lounge chair and a bag of Doritos.

But today, on this blessedly beautiful autumn day, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to enjoy this moment.  My breathing was slightly labored from the exertion of running, but I felt flushed and alive.  I had to will my legs to keep on moving, but I could feel the breeze through my hair, and the warmth of the sun on my face.  It made me push through the pain, because I realized that very soon we will be shivering in the cold, shoveling snow off the driveway. And perhaps not so soon, but soon enough, I may not be able to run anymore.  I may inherit the heart problems my mother has, which has slowed her down to a leisurely walk.  I may someday actually become nostalgic for the pain I haven’t yet learned to embrace.

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