chords and cadence

Another runner's writ

Archive for the tag “Growing up”

Finding it

Dark grey skies illuminated into lighter grey skies when I woke up this morning. I poured my thermos of coffee, ate half an orange because I was apathetic (read: running late) to peel the rest, and totally spaced taking my pre-packed chicken breast and spinach salad lunch (danggg it!). Mick Jagger’s croon and Keith Richard’s riffs shook me awake (I was born in a crossfire hurricane…) as I drove down I-65 to the suburban elementary school where I volunteer twice a week.

The bright lights of the gym and the squeakiness of wet running shoes on waxed floors were my final wee jolt of energy before greeting the gaggle of 3rd through 5th grade girls who are part of Girls on the Run. They smile, yawn, stretch, and finally saunter to the middle of the floor and sit cross-legged in a circle. Today we learned about expressing how we feel to people who aren’t treating us very nice (I feel…when you…because…I would like you to…). And then we went outside.

Still grey.

I was sidelined this morning (a slight tinge in my left calf has rendered me super cautious), so I watched the girls run as I counted their laps, gave high fives, and caught their high-flung jackets in mid-air. I watched their faces as they passed, and I noticed they all had it: Confidence.

Some had it from the get-go (that girl needs a lesson on PACING). Some it grew with each lap. With others it didn’t completely shine until the end. But by the time it was over, when some had racked up 12, 17, 20 laps, each of them visibly felt better about themselves than before their hearts started pumping. Hands above their heads, catching their breath, and straightening their wind-blown ponytails, they all glowed.

Walking back to the gym was better than walking out; they smiled, giggled with each other, and weren’t complaining about how their shoes didn’t work right this morning so they just can’t run today so, sorry Miss Taylor.

Yes… I thought. This is what it’s all about. Dear Mick, you can get what you want, sometimes.

The reminder came from girls who have no idea who Mick Jagger is (except for maybe I’ve got the mo-o-o-o-oves like Jagger, which, ugh): The hardest part is digging down and finding it, but once you do, it’s a cure-all.

So find it. Hone it in, and use it until you can’t anymore. It will give you everything no self-help book, talk show host, or weekend seminar could ever give you (that’s all bologna anyway).

These little girls found it on a grey morning with the threat of raindrops in the sky and a lunchtime with no recess.

Your turn.

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Running back home

547531_10151349092791469_726117115_nI went back home for Christmas last week.

Back to 7,220 feet above sea level.

Back to thinner air and colder ground.

Back to Ponderosa Pines and granite rock and elk poop in the yard.

Within an hour of pulling into the driveway, I hastily pulled on my full-length spandex, added some YakTrax to the Pearl Izumis and hit the trails like I was back to see an old friend, which they precisely are.

The snow at Elk Meadow had been wind-whipped and the dry air had rendered a crunchy surface. In the places where it wasn’t a little iced over, it sunk up to my shins. It was cold and I was happy.

I didn’t really notice the change in elevation, not too bad anyway. I would later lie and say ‘oh yeah! whew!’ when asked, so I didn’t sound cocky. But those five hilly, snowy miles were the sweetest welcome home.

Fast forward to the next morning… I had an 11 miles ahead of me, per my marathon training schedule. I ran from my parents’ house down to the lake and around it twice, up by my old high school and around the track, up to Three Sisters, through a neighborhood and back down. In the almost 10 years since we lived in that house, I had never ran that route when I could have so many times. I mentally kicked myself (ya jerk!).

As a cross country runner in high school, I had run the same roads, trails, and tracks over and over, usually a little slower than expected by my coaches. My teammates and I had gossiping and flirting to do because we were in high school, after all.

I thought about myself at 15 and 16 and how immature I was. How I didn’t know who I was or what I was going to do about a math test I didn’t plan on studying for. How I had a crush on a guy who went to another high school and it seemed like the end of the world I didn’t see him every day. How I only did cross country because I wasn’t good at any other sports (choir geek right here, y’all). How I never would have believed it if anyone would tell me I was going to run a marathon…ever. The Taylor Eye Roll would have been all  over that one.

I thought about myself now, at 23-and-a-half. I thought about how I finally know who I am and (mostly) what I want. How much I’ve changed, how much I’ve seen of the world, and how much my fingers were freezing (but I wasn’t going to admit it to Mom who told me to dress warmer).

But no matter what I thought about myself, it always came back around to running. It’s been through everything with me, even when I didn’t want it, and especially when I did. It has stuck with me longer through all my ugliness, awkwardness, and biggest life changes.

Going back to Colorado after having moved 1,158 miles away confirmed what I already knew: Running and I are in it for life, you really can go home again, and always listen to Mom when she tells it’s gonna be cold.

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