Some Things Running Tells Me About Myself

Long run yesterday morning, and I really didn’t want to do it.  It had been a long week previously, with not much rest at the weekend – busy time of year, late nights, disturbed sleep, bit a of a cold virus sniffling around…  To get myself out on the easy run + intervals on Sunday I’d had to trick myself into it, so facing down 6 miles on a wet Monday morning (after a bickery breakfast with the younger children before the walk to school) held very little appeal.

A couple of miles in and I’m looking up at a luminescent white sky – it’s covered in cloud, but the sun is shimmering behind the veil, radiating its presence, threatening to crack this thing wide open at any moment.  Increasingly I find headspace in my running.  Initially I spent much of my time concentrating on just getting around the route; making it from one milestone (real or metaphorical) to the next, willing myself not to stop, not to give in.  As I’m picking up the miles and finding that I can enjoy the swing of a steady pace, I’ve started to turn down the volume, literally and figuratively, and open up my mind and my spirit to explore the landscape as my body does.  It’s space to pray, to reflect, to consider.  Ask questions and muse on possible answers.

Today the questions are about my children, and my ability to help them navigate the complex route from raw unformed self to maturity.  As I run, the thoughts which drop down into my mind are that I am someone with self-control. Doesn’t always feel like it, when I find myself caught up with unbearable frustration over another sibling squabble – but I am here, pacing it out, in the face of every opportunity to cave and rationalise out of today’s workout.  I can be determined in expressing my love as well as my self-discipline.

I’m someone who can find joy in the journey. Yes, when an astonishingly messy bedroom is still left untouched after several hours / days / weeks of negotiation, and I’m fighting the urge to Ban Fun until it’s tidied, I don’t feel like the world’s coolest mum. But I’m pushing into mile 5 (with a stone in my shoe since mile 2), and I’m still appreciating the view.  Every truly beautiful moment I’ve relished in this city has been enjoyed on a run: golden suns, crimson skies, sparkling frost, even dripping black bare branches in the middle of winter can captivate me as I run through the parks and suburbs.  I can translate the ability to find delight amidst struggle at home as well as outdoors.

And I am strong.  I didn’t used to feel it.  I didn’t realise I had the capacity.  And I build strength daily through running, and not running – through Pilates, walking, swimming, strength training… There are lots of ways to build strength, and when one avenue is exhausted for a while, there are other ways to do it.  Resting is legitimate, but I am capable of this thing.  And resistance training is part of the process.

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