Thursday, May 12, 2011

Falling in love again

It's been a long winter. Don't get me wrong, I like winter. We had delightful friends and a lovely house in Houston, but when we got the chance to move back to the temperate zone, I jumped at it, and I think a lot of it had to do with wanting four seasons again. There's something about year after year of warm temperatures that didn't work with my raised-in-New England self. I'd probably even get sick of living in Hawaii after a while.

As much as I like sweaters and slippers and taking a long, hot shower after running through the snow (and being the first person to lay track through that snow, gliding down the street in the darkness with snowflakes in my hair is completely magical), I'm also glad when winter comes to an end. By my estimation, winter should have ended about six weeks ago, but he's been hanging around here in these parts like a party guest who doesn't know that his hostess is eager to go to bed. The front page of yesterday's paper showed a picture of Alta, completely snowed under and looking like January. It's the middle of May.

I usually run with friends early on Thursday mornings. It's part of my routine, just like my Monday speedwork, my Friday tempo run, and my Saturday long run. You could even call it a rut, if you want to. But ever since Eddie helped the ward team win the championship for the Salt Lake Valley, he's been eager to maintain his basketball skills, and he wanted to go play with the guys at church this morning. So I sacrificed and decided to run after I took Maren to school. I haven't been excited about running lately. I'm doing the Odgen Marathon in a week and a half, and I've run so many crappy marathons in the last two years that I'm not excited about it. It's not nerves-- this will be my ninth marathon-- I know I can finish, but I put lots of pressure on myself to run hard, and I've fallen out of love with the racing part of running. The parts that involve talking to friends in the quiet hours of the morning, feeling strong as we trudge up the ice, or sensing the wonder of watching a moose on a mountain trail, I still love that. I also love ice cream and having a cute butt, but the racing part of running has been so miserable that it's made me question the whole endeavor.

So this morning, I took to the hills. I hadn't been up on the trail since last October, when my mom fell and we had to carry her off the mountain. I was a little nervous the first few miles. Would there be anyone out there to rescue me if I biffed it? It grew warm. There was snow on the ground, but I peeled off my long-sleeved t-shirt and ran in my bra (no one out here to look at my Mommy tummy) and felt the sun on my back. The grass was that impossibly new spring green, and the creek rushed past me. Instead of feeling frustrated by running, frustrated with my self and my body for putting the pressure on and then not meeting my goals, I just felt grateful to be out there, pale-skinned and squinting, like an animal shaking off a winter's hibernation.

I don't know if this summer will hold half marathon PRs or if I'll ever manage to fall in love with running a marathon again. But I do know that I'll be up on the trail with my legs feeling strong. And it will be worth it, even if they have to carry me down.


Blue said...

In the past couple weeks, I've started to enjoy my workouts. This is kind of a weird thing, because I haven't actually enjoyed exercise in a LOT of years. I actually missed it when I was flying crazy hours last week with no reasonable opportunity to exercise.

I am all achy today from yesterday's time at the gym (and yard work), but it is making me very happy to actually be enjoying it.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up and get in good enough condition to take to the hills myself (albeit at a much slower pace than yourself!) I could taste the exhilaration in your description here and it made me hungry. ♥

JarGill said...

Shelah, that was really enjoyable to read, especially after talking a bit about it last night. Falling in love is great and if its that easy to re-evaluate a semi-lost love of running than we can apply it to other areas of our lives that lack a passion we once had that pressures of life attempt to steal away. ( :

Shelah said...

Our chat last night was the inspiration, Kristi. I think it put me in the right frame of mind to just enjoy the run this morning.

Come run with me sometime, Blue. Even if we end up walking, I know we'll have fun. :)

Terry Mastny said...

Even after the injury and 5-man carry off the mountain last fall, I long to get back on the mountain ridge trail and feel the joy of having a body that can carry me through such lovely places.

Chelle said...

LOVED this post. I can't wait to get up there and soak it all in. : )