She Runs, Still

I haven’t forgotten that my theme for the year is run.  Not even for one moment.

I allowed shingles followed immediately by a mission trip derail me early  in the year, and while I’m not running the consistent 4-7 miles that I was, I’m still  running.  I still plan to run long distances. I simply got sidetracked.

I read this article in Runner’s World today: Get Up and Run or Stay in Bed

There were days, many of them, during this summer, that I chose to stay in bed. The call of comfort and lassitude were all too convincing.  I’d been pushed to my limit, and I didn’t want to push myself any harder. I let myself believe “rest” and self indulgence were the answers to my problems.

But that was last-summer-me.  Since it’s now officially fall I can look at her in retrospect and click my tongue judging her harshly for her foolish decisions. I could do that, but I won’t.  I won’t because yes, this morning while the sky was still dark and the peepers still sang their morning song, I was out there.  I pushed and sweated. I covered miles, climbed hills, waved at drivers and dodged early morning frogs crossing the roads.  I did do it, but not fifteen minutes before I walked out the door, I heard the sweet song of sleep. I was oh…so…close to staying put just for this morning because I was tired, because I deserved it.

If there is one thing that I have learned while running it is that I am always going to battle that side of me that tells me  one morning won’t matter. I deserve the easy road. I’m never going to win any races anyway. I could listen to that voice; it is laced with truth in some ways.

What it doesn’t tell me is this morning would change slowly from ebony to steel grey to white pearl to shell pink and then be shot through with orange blazes. It didn’t tell me that the fog would lay low until deer bounded through swirling silvery mist trails in their wake. It doesn’t tell  me I can feel the earth turn in her seasons in those early hours. I have to find these things for myself. I have to choose to venture out where I am uncomfortable and often very tired, wondering if I can even go another foot, in order to be part of beauty.

Left to my own devices, I will always want to take the easy path.
But the easy path is seldom shot through with breath taking moments that make you forget you’ve been running uphill for so long you don’t remember how downhill feels. Running is like that too.

And I’m still running. Each step taking me farther and closer to home.

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