It is HOT. I’m talking the kind of hot where, immediately following a run, you could put flour, shortening, and water on my head, and that tortilla would be bubbling in no time. Earlier this week, I ran, came home, and plopped down on my living room floor to do some sit-ups. My body just said, “Unngghhhh. Noooo.”
Know the feeling?
Even with the heat, though, I’m still thanking God for running every time I lace up my shoes. And maybe a few other times during the day, too. Because frankly, I need it.
Life is a little hectic right now. At work, we’re in the thick of what we call “earnings time,” which in the wire service business happens at the end of every financial quarter. Companies send us massive press releases and are uber-tense about them, on top of regular work. I’ll just say that it keeps us on our toes. Constantly.
Meanwhile, on the homefront, I’m in the process of pulling up roots and moving from an apartment into a house (finally, I can hear some of my friends saying). A rented house, sure, but a house nonetheless. With a driveway and a yard and everything! It’s an exciting time, but a lot of stuff has accumulated in my apartment over the last seven years, and that stuff needs sorting. And throwing away. And taking to Goodwill. And packing. And hoisting. And then when it actually gets to the house…well, after all that heavy lifting, can you blame me for wanting to get out and do some quality cardio?
Running is my moment of calm. It’s the eye of my hurricane. It’s my time of day — even if it’s just 25 or 30 minutes — to shrug off work stress and moving stress. It’s my time to process the fact that I’m about to share a home with the man I love, which means negotiating fear, joy, apprehension, awe, humility, or any one of a panoply of emotions, depending on the day.
I thank God that it IS summertime right now, and I thank Him that it IS 90+ degrees when I’m outside running, because you know what? It forces me to slow down. On multiple runs recently I’ve caught myself going right from my front door into a hustling pace, because my schedule is tight and I have other things I want to get done. Then the sun, and my current not-exactly-marathon-ready level of fitness, join forces to slap me upside the head, and I remember.
I remember that running is a GIFT. And a gift is something to not only be used, but valued. If I rush through a run, treating it as nothing more than just another task to check off, is that really valuing the gift? Is it even really using the gift?
I’m not saying that everyone should run slowly. I’m just saying: Pay attention. Inhale. Exhale. Remember why you run in the first place. If that motivates you to run quicker that day, great. If you realize that’s the first time all day that you’ve been conscious of inhaling and exhaling, and you settle down for a more mellow pace, that’s fine too.
Whatever is the eye of your hurricane, relish it.