Last week, when I packing for my trip to Chicago, I left my suitcase out in our bedroom so that I could throw things in as I thought of them. (Is here when I say that after years of frequent travel, I *still* don’t pack the night before I leave? It’s always the morning of the trip.) It’s also an invitation to an unspoken request that Joe and I have for each other - a way to unobtrusively tuck in little notes in the other person’s luggage. Since I’m the more frequent traveler, typically I send a card while I’m away or leave him a note or two for him to discover while I’m gone.
When I got to Chicago, I discovered a few notes – and they’re usually filled with the endearment that Joe and I call each other. I always feel good and loved when I find a new one.
But Thursday night – the night before I was leaving – I discovered the last note, tucked into my running shoes.
A simple “I love you” was all the note said – and it was a great boost to don my running gear and head down to the hotel’s dreadmill. Normally, I love to run outside…but it was 4 in the afternoon, it was hot, humid (for this Colorado gal) and sunny. And I forgot my sunglasses at home. Oh yeah, and I was in a completely foreign suburb right off the highway and busy streets. Probably not the safest thing I’d attempt.
The dreadmill was the only viable option –and that’s what I chose.
I remember a time when I was able to run for 5 miles without stopping or walking. I remember a time when I was pacing under 10 minutes a mile. Those times are not now.
Now I suck wind at the ¾ mile mark. Now I resort to walking one song and running for another. Now my pace is slower. Now is painful.
But I did it. I slugged through the 4 km I had planned.
It relaxed me and made me feel more in control before I had dinner with my father (who was about 15 minutes away from where the hotel was). Time with my father usually makes me feel tense and out of control.
As I build my pace and distance once again, I hope I hold onto the memory of these tougher times – when I can look back and say “look how far I’ve come!”
Last night in my Weight Watchers meeting, our leader asked about ways to keep workouts from being boring. There were a few suggestions from other people, but I realized my own truth inside of me: I used to love running races. I loved trying to improve upon the last one. I loved wearing the race shirt later. I loved being motivated by someone my size (or bigger) who trudged along and ran the whole thing too. I loved pushing through when I felt that I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) run another step.
That is how I kept running fresh.
I’m going to pick out a race to run in the next month. Initially, I wanted to run the Undy 5000, but it’s on June 25th and that’s our anniversary…and we’ve already been talking about going out of town.
I want to pick a race that will be fun – and one that when I wear the shirt afterwards, I can be reminded of a time when I found myself again.