After a slight sloop in being an exercising machine (you’re thinking “What? How?!?!?” – I know, right?), I’ve gotten my head back in the game, thanks to a vital conversation with Liz and a few much needed friend-date workouts.
Here’s the thing: I love running. It’s kind of like I’ve been in a really long relationship with running, even. And I’m a darn committed person when it comes to relationships. Loyalty, dedication, and follow-through are deeply embedded in my sense of self. So when I don’t feel like running, or I’m too tired or too stressed to leave my desk and get out the door, I feel an overwhelming sense of “Holy crap, running is going to hate me!” Some people might shorten that feeling’s title to shame or guilt. Not me. I’m sticking with “Holy Crap” if anything.
So this is where Liz comes in. Liz has been a runner since high school. She’s one of those wonderfully leggy creatures with active and creative energy exuding from every limb of her being – she’s the perfect sort of person to always be in motion, and to play counselor for my running relationship. I gave her a call, and after discussing the goings-on of our anything but mundane lifestyles (she’s just got back from Sri Lanka, and I just went to Mexico for the first time in 15 years), I brought up the running dilemna.
“I just don’t feel like running understands me right now. We’re not connecting!” I wailed, and then began weeping helplessly into the phone, twirling the pig-tail coiled cord through my fingers.
“I see,” replied Liz with a solemn nod I could feel through phone-line.
“What if I leave running and I want to come back and running won’t take me back?” I bemoaned through my hysterics.
“How do you feel about that?” Liz asked with complete sincerity.
“Awful!!” I threw myself onto the bed and cried.
Liz listened patiently, and then offered insight based on her long-term experience with running.*
“Running is always going to be there. That’s the glorious thing about it. You can not run for a few days, a few weeks, even a few months, and you can always come back to it. And the best thing? Running doesn’t mind that you left. Running is understanding like that. You exercise a lot, and you’ve been more faithful to the art of running that most people. Sometimes you need a change. Sometimes you need to read a book. And that’s fine.”
It’s true. I spend a lot of time exercising my body because it’s really important to me to be healthy, be able to go hiking for 10 miles without complaint, and be able to sleep like a lion at night (I feel like lions sleep really well). And while I do spend a fair amount of time exercising my mind, too (what writer doesn’t?), I think there comes a time when the only way to really benefit from something is to miss it for a few days. Change doesn’t have to be forever; it can just be for now. That’s the nice thing about change – you can change back!
I got off the phone with Liz feeling like a cleansed and absolved person, and promptly sat down to watch Burn Notice with the boyfriend.
And then, I woke up the next morning and went for a run. Guess I just needed some time.
* Wait a second…has running been cheating on me? The tela-novella thickens…