I wanted to run today, as in I planned to run today, but when it came down to actually running, I didn’t really feel like it. Or maybe it was more that other things seemed more pressing–like cleaning my house or writing or napping. Whether any of those things will happen today remains to be seen, but I did run. I considered that more often than not, I’m glad I went even if initially I didn’t want to go, and that I might not get to run again until maybe as late as this Saturday, and so I ran. 2.69 miles in 30:03 for an 11:11/mile. That’s slow, even for me, but by the time I started, the heat index was already 91 degrees. Even still, I’d been running for 12 or 13 minutes before I felt sweat collecting on my upper lip, and almost 20 before the first bead of sweat broke free from my hairline and rolled down my right cheek. That’s about normal for me. I don’t start really sweating until I’ve been at it for a while, even if it’s really hot. A couple weeks ago, my husband and I went for an afternoon hike with some of our friends and their dogs at Pocahontas State Park–we went for an hour. Everyone else was wiping sweat from their brows. It dripped off their chins and down their backs. I had one little damp spot, the size of a half dollar, on my chest.
“How are you not sweating?” one of my friends asked. But I don’t know; I just don’t sweat much. I glisten a lot. And if I get hot enough, my face gets really red, and becomes grotesquely blotchy as I cool off. It’s very ugly when that happens.
A runner should maybe identify with a hare or a gazelle or a cheetah–but I’m a snail right now, edging along on the line between walking and running.
This morning before I ran, I ate a bowl of cereal with dried cherries, milk, and orange juice (which is what I always eat for breakfast every morning) and walked the dogs for a little over an hour. During our walk, I noticed a little snail on some leaves. A snail is the mascot for this journal, so I snapped a photo of him–and thought of him a few times during my run. I don’t care much right now about how fast I run. I just care that I run. A runner should maybe identify more with a hare or a gazelle or a cheetah–but I’m a snail right now, edging along on the line between walking and running. That’s okay. Some people would say I’m cutting myself too much slack, going too easy on myself, not training to my potential. They’re not wrong. That’s okay, too.
When I was really serious about running, in late college and early in my teaching career, my dad would sometimes try to put things into perspective for me. “You’re not a professional runner,” he’d say. I don’t remember how I felt about that, but I mostly ignored it. I remember it now, though. I’m not a professional runner. I’m a wife and a dog mom and a teacher and a writer and a daughter and a sister and a friend–and a recreational runner. And if running isn’t recreational, if I pressurize it fretting over time and distance, then–right now, at least–what’s the point? Running is a release–a treat, a haven. Not a job, not an obligation.
I’m not a professional runner. I’m a wife and a dog mom and a teacher and a writer and a daughter and a sister and a friend–and a recreational runner.
And so in my 30 minutes and three seconds, I admired the green trees against the blue, blue sky and I savored the shade and felt the warmth of the sun and took a photo of an antique car I sent to my husband and I felt happy to be outside and moving. That’s one of the best things about running–and about walking my dogs–both are accessible ways to spend time outside, exercising.