i've always dreamed of running. in my dreams i am fleet-footed like a cheetah, feet barely touching the ground, skimming like lightning over the surface of a fast-spinning globe. the sky is dark in that dream, and the stars are out, and my lungs are filled with powerful oxygen that fuels me. my hair blows back in the wind. my eyes see wide on the peripheral- not like now where i only have the orb-vision of my corrective glasses. i never get tired. i just run, and run, and run.
i was a runner, once. i was a sprinter. i was fast. i went to the provincial meets back in canada. i remember the feeling of leaning at the starting line, tensing for the pistol, and the dash down the track with the world in a blur. i remember the ecstasy of knowing there was no one in front of me, or beside me. the thrill of the medal around my neck.
in the NOT-DREAM running that i have begun to do IRL (in real life), it is nothing like this. first of all, i can't actually run. at the age of almost 64, i dare not bring the weight of my whole body down on knees, ankles, and feet that have not run in 50 years. i shuffle. my feet land on the pavement quite flat, and not hard, thus expending less energy (important) and causing no injuries (more important). it's sort of like the treads of a tank. (see here for further explanation) if you were to see me coming from a distance, it would probably look a bit like a turtle leaned quite far forward and plodding along very slowly but persistently on short legs.
initially i began running because….i actually can't remember why. i think i just thought it would be too impossible to do the couch25k and so i'd give up halfway through. except that i didn't.
i didn't quit. i didn't give up. i kept "running".
our subdivision is mostly uphill-downhill. i purposely decided to start with a downhill warm-up walk and then start my run on the short flat stretch that turns and leads into "heartbreak hill". i remember the first time i ran up that hill. i thought i was going to be sick (as in vomit). but i made it. a few days later i did it again, and a bit farther. my app kept encouraging me along ("you're at the half-way point!") and oddly enough, despite expecting my legs to stop, they didn't. by the time i got to 5k, i was doing heartbreak hill twice.
on the morning that i did 5k for the first time, i picked up a round white stone lying in the street at the top of the hill. every time i shuffled past it, i promised myself that when i finally did the 5k, i'd stop and pick it up.
and i did. i truly did.
i am thinking about running longer, farther, harder.
someone reminded me about "forrest gump", how he started running and then just kept going. i sort of feel like that. i'm being careful, cautious, slow. but i'm running. and i love it. i am learning the technique of "chi running"…lean, lean, lean. i don't exactly feel the wind in my hair, but i love the lean. love the sense of being in tune with my center of gravity, love that my feet don't hurt, love that my lungs expand, love that i can still smile.
SSP. smile, shuffle, and pray. yeah, i pray.
so... forrest? shall we begin?