Monday, May 24, 2010

Hate to Love: My Dubious Relationship with Running

First let's be clear. I'm not sure what I do is actually running. It's more like a mildly paced shuffling kind of jog thing. I have "run" off and on for the better part of the last 12 years, starting just after I married my husband, the former cross country coach.

Those early days were heady. We were young. We were fit. We had energy and drive and time. We had one kid who sat happily in the jogger pointing at butterflies and flowers. We'd go for miles and chat. He'd give me pointers on technique, like hold to hold my arms to I don't waste energy.

These days, energy is in short supply. I will do anything to conserve it. Like sleep. However, we also have three very active children and a dog who poops under my sewing machine if he doesn't go out. I'm fairly sure this is a not-so-passive-aggressive retaliation. What I wonder is, "Why me? Why am I the one he punishes for not going on a run. There are other runners and walkers and poop picker uppers in this house."

But I digress.

The point is for a while I really hated running. The dog is like a manic toddler scooting from one pile of detritus to the next. I'm pretty sure he had the 52 ounce bladder installed by QT because he sure stops a lot. Which means I stop a lot. Which means 3 miles takes quite a time investment.
I try. I really try to give him the first mile to do his business. This, I think, is a reasonable compromise, but one I'm not sure he got the memo. So sometimes on mile 2 and 3 I get a little testy with him.

Again, digression.

If I can stop thinking about him, I like where my mind goes. It goes to that place we all have, where ideas pump like blood, where pieces of troubles shift into place like puzzles suddenly closer to solving. It's the place where the vigilant censor takes a vacation and I think all the things I don't say out loud, things that might not be for public consumption in polite society.
It also feels really, really good to hang up the leash and get on with my day.

In short, I love that the dog needs to go for a run because I like where the run takes me. Of course it liberates me from poop under my sewing machine. But it's more than that. It's one time segment devoted to thought. Wild, free thought.

But don't tell the dog.

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