I originally posted this July 16, 2010 at 3:23 am. I wrote this as I was just getting into running. As I was quitting smoking. As I was embracing our first year married. I’ve written about blogging before A is For Adelaide… and it was mostly about running. I love running. I love the endorphins. I love the reflection, the time for me. The strength, the sweat, the music pulsing through the fibers in my muscles pushing me to hit a better stride. This is where I started… and we all have to start somewhere. This was my first post. I hope you like it.
Sometimes I wish it wasn’t on the verge of midnight, every night I decide to be productive. Sometimes I wish I could remember where I put my iPod Shuffle, water bottle and orthotics for my painfully flat feet before I’m dressed. Sometimes I dream of my shorts not riding up, a creep not honking loudly from Broad Street and no more sidewalks ending into a pit of gravel and broken rocks.
Alas… this is not my life. This is just my running life. This is a separate existence I have created away from my husband, with whom I share a wonderful and beautiful life. This is a place away from my in-laws who reside 2.5 miles away, and my parents (250 miles away). This is my zone, where the cat cannot meow at me for tuna and the neighbors cannot keep reminding me of the vines left by the previous owner of our home that bent their fence. This is the place no doctor can give me news I never asked for. In this life, I care so much about what I’m doing, that it’s finally enough. It’s enough for just me to care. This is a safe place where no one can judge me, to a point, not even me.
In this world I live in for 30 minutes to 2 hours each day, I decide what is important, and I learn from each mistake I make. I balance each mile so that I may continue to the next. I turn right to continue my journey, instead of left to return home.
When I get to the 1450 square foot abode my husband and I are rehabbing, I am reminded of my brother-in-law splattering paint on my newly re-finished floors. I see the kitchen that needs remodeling, the porch that needs painting, the rugs that need vacuuming and the shelves that need dusting. As I untie my shoes I see our engagement picture taken by Mike Allebach, surrounded by a mat signed by our wedding guests hanging in the dining room (where we have yet to hang our beautiful, antique mirror), and I smile. As I ascend the stairs and enter our bedroom to the left, I glance right, at where, someday, we will have a nursery. I am reminded that everything I have yet to do will get done. This is not insight gained from age, this is wisdom learned from the road. This is the memory of mile 2 on my first day out. The memory of turning around and going home. The memory of a 2 mile run taking me 30 minutes. The memory of a cigarette being lit on the front steps and the adrenaline being sucked out of me and blown into the night sky. All these memories of my first run leading me to the, almost, 8 miles I completed today. Smoke free. I am strong. I can do it. In time, everything I need to get done, gets done. If nothing else, I took a big step for me today. Today was another day that I didn’t light up, but laced up. Another day the basement is closer to completion, my family is healthy and happy and the world didn’t come to an end.
When I am not in my running world, I am reminded of my college degree withering away at the hands of corporate, retail America. I am reminded that I make as little as I legally can, and have a manager who acknowledges that I work like a dog. I am reminded that to make the $100,000 my degree cost would take me 4 1/2 years. But I hold my breath and count to ten, and right before I think I’m going to walk out in some Jerry McGuire fashion, with a great speech and a great job offer to follow, it’s time for me to go home. This is a good thing, as my husband and I reside in Rhode Island- not exactly at the top of the list for a stable job market, but we did make it to the top of the list for an unstable market, so that’s something (to fear). This logic does not come from years of lessons learned, this thinking comes from miles logged. Miles where my head spun and my breath, jagged and sharp, barely registered in my mind- swirling with thoughts of how a company could treat people the way mine does. No money, no hope. My feet keep plodding the pavement hoping to stumble upon a money tree, but merely come up tripping over the stump of an old oak. On these runs I am reminded of good things, too… Like how I will begin nursing school in the Fall and, finally, enjoy a rewarding career.
In my running world I learn about a person I never knew existed. A part of me that died with my father 12 years ago, or even before that when my brother passed in 1990. A part of me that needs to be awakened. And, perhaps, a part of me I’ve left everywhere I’ve been- an adventurous spirit raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, but well traveled and well versed in UHaul truck maintenance, from moves to RI, VA, NJ, PA and back again. All of these things still in me, waiting to be released on the road.
This part of me houses a little girl who runs with fresh lungs and legs, a free spirit, the drive to take a turn and see where I end up. A little girl who creates a vacation each time she heads out the door- enjoying the beautiful seasons as they pass through Pawtuxet Village, the intricate layout of South Providence’s neighborhoods and the East Side’s hilly terrain. I’m still the woman wearing an identification bracelet and setting her iPod at a low volume, armed with 20 oz of water attached to my belt and a cell phone in a plastic bag for emergencies and to protect from moisture. But I am a new woman. Someone who can deal with a little dirt, have a glass of wine without guilt and speak freely of my insecurities in life. A lesson I’ve learned watching my thighs jiggle or my bank account dwindle: I can feel insecure without worrying I’m putting you down. Not everything is about you. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s about me.
At least it is in my running world.