I went running for the first time today since our move six weeks ago. It felt a bit like remembering how to bike again after a long hiatus: the synchronized action of my limbs following the kinesthetic blueprint of forward motion. I never wrote about not running the marathon, but I didnâ€™t, and it made me sad for weeks. Part of the reason I didnâ€™t run was because we moved THE VERY NEXT DAY, and that was entirely poor and ridiculous timing (what WAS I thinking when I scheduled it?) But most of the reason was because I developed a stress fracture during the latter half of my training program and despite dutiful trips to the physical therapist and cool green orthotics for my shoes, my shin would hurt excruciatingly for days after a run and eventually I was forced to weigh my options. Run the marathon and be injured for the summer or, skip it, move to our new with a wholly functioning body, and enjoy the rest of the summer sports that I so dearly love.
So I didnâ€™t run, and then suddenly I was immersed in the massive project of unpacking in an unfinished house, and somehow six weeks have whipped by in a blur. But Iâ€™ve missed running. A little like a craving, a listlessness in my tendons at night. So today when I leapt off the front stoop and took off down our winding gravel drive, I was grinning.
It felt so good. And it felt so bad.
Do you know how much muscle tone you loose if you just up and take six weeks off of any regular exercise? A lot. Throw in weaning a baby, and the ensuing hormone restructuring, and itâ€™s a sure-fire recipe for feeling the way I imagine sea turtles must, loafing their way up some sandy escarpment to make a nest.
A four mile run took me a lot longer than a four mile run did a month and a half ago, and afterwards I sat in the corner of the couch and begged for someone to make me a PBJ and a glass of milk because I couldnâ€™t move. But surprisingly, during the run I was so distracted by the beauty of this place where I live that I barely noticed how unmistakably plod-like my gate was.
The wet air was fragrant. Everything is in bloom or fruit now: raspberries are ripe along the hedgerows, and elder berry blossoms, burdock, cornflowers, and Black Eyed Susans spread out across the fields like a thousand speckled suns. And somehow, the time mostly went by without my noticing.
It is inevitable Iâ€™ll feel it tomorrow. Iâ€™ve started to notice how my body no longer forgets the cumulative effects of the things I do to it each day. But thereâ€™s something of value in having oneâ€™s attention be focused on oneâ€™s body in this way: noticing it for the things it can do, for the way it feels, rather than simply for the way it looks. Iâ€™m ready for this again---especially after spending a week on the beach being all too aware of how I appear to the rest of the world.
(You know how the flight attendant always cautions that â€œyour baggage may have shifted during the flight,â€ ? Letâ€™s just say this is a good way to describe my physical accoutrements as well, since Bean. )