Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gray Skies and Gratitude

There are days- like today- when I literally have to take a time out to list the things I'm grateful for in order to stop the complaining dialogue in my head.

I am grateful to live in a place where I am able to run indoors when the weather is not conducive to outdoor running for weeks on end. Dull as a treadmill or indoor track may be, it is far better than a place where every building has been reduced to rubble and you can no longer tell which street corner was once yours.

I am grateful to have people in my life that I can go to when I need a hug at the end of a long day. There are days when the person I want to hug may be states away, and no amount of kissing through the phone can compare to the sweetness of fresh dog breath kisses in your face, but I'm pretty lucky to have a few people within a few blocks that I can always go to for some comforting contact.

I grateful to have a job. Period.

I am incredibly grateful to have a body that functions as well as it does, with my senses intact. Try as I may, I cannot imagine my life without the soundtracks I am constantly making up or manipulating through radio stations. Music is so powerful- is has pumped me up, calmed me down, inspired me, kept me focused, and made me smile so many times, I think it would take an incredibly medicine cabinet of prescriptions to handle all the things my itunes does for me. If I weren't able to see the familiar faces and the sweet smiles I do each day, I wonder if my life would be less rich. Not to be able to see those smudgy colors at first light or the sparkly light through the leaves in late afternoon or the amazing patterns in the clouds as the sun goes down saddens me, and I am so grateful I am able to see them now. (In theory, if there were leaves on the trees. Or sun. Anywhere.)

I have an amazing family. Fantastic friends. A steady paycheck. A really great dog...several states away. And a really comfy bed. What's a little bad weather?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Running it out

There is something soothing in the challenge. There comes a point where it's all in sync: breathing in and out, pumping arms, the rhythm of feet hitting the ground.

I've never actually been through a 12-step program, but I feel like there are certain stages I experience on every long run. There's always a stretch of time (usually in the beginning, hopefully more than once) when I feel good. I feel strong, like this run will be no big deal. I'm loving the music in my ears, the strength I feel in my body, the pace I'm keeping. I am optimisitic and conditioned. I am a runner. Somewhere around this time, I usually find my grateful moment. Grateful to be in a position to appreciate the great outdoors, the joys of exercise, and the glory of calorie-burn. There is the tired point. My limbs feel heavy. I feel impossibly slow. I can't get the breath deep enough into my lungs to feel relief. There is a lost in my thoughts to the point I've forgotten what I'm doing stretch. I enjoy this part of the run because I'm usually surprised when I realize how far I've run without noticing (unless I'm doing laps, in which case I've completely lost count.) This is the time when I stop focusing on my body and go inside my head. A sort of exploration of the subconcious happens and I work through problems, wonder about things, and often get some anger out. Things I won't ever confront head on in life, I'm able to throw down on the ground and run over to some degree of satisfaction. There are surges of energy- sometimes tied to the next song on the playlist, sometimes directly related to who may be watching, sometimes a simple bargain struck: sprint to that corner and you can have a drink. There is the relief, usually at the end when I slow down and feel the heat in my face. Then, a few minutes later there is the pride. I did it. Let's do it again.

I may never run fast, I may never run pretty. I certainly hope that I always run, even if only for the brief therapy session it affords me.