Tuesday, July 5, 2011

running diaries chapbook - part iv

happy runner girl
For the past couple of weeks, I've been running injured. It's nothing serious just a tightness in my right hip and an awareness of my left knee. It is prompting me to try to stretch more conscientiously, which is good. It is also putting me in a position where I am continually asserting the will of my mind over my body - maybe not the best thing, but I try to do it with respect. Legs, lungs, eyes and mind, propel me beyond the discomfort as my body and mind gradually reach an understanding and work in unison to take me where I want to go.

It is hard to back off from running because it is incredibly satisfying to know that I am running distances that are ever increasing, if only by minuscule amounts. Running and biking both give me an opportunity to practice conscious breathing - something I find the need to do occasionally.  I can't be the only person in the universe who finds themselves somewhere (for me, it is usually driving in my car) and realizes that they can't remember the last breath they took, can I?  Exercise forces me to think about inhaling and exhaling and I believe that is a positive thing.  And to expand on the thinking process, running helps me to release my thoughts and generally lighten my head. I always feel better mentally after a run - things clarify and the extraneous weight gets discarded. Another good thing.

The outdoor season is brief, and I love the familiar sights along my route, so I respectfully push through and reward my body with tasty food and lots of water.  I often pass the same people on my run, which makes me feel like part of the community in a really nice way. I have names for the people I see regularly. There's Crazy Dog Lady, which I say in a completely nonjudgmental tone and never out loud. I was first exposed to her a number of years ago during school board meetings when the discussion was focused on the construction of the current neighborhood middle school, Myers. She was strongly opposed to the school being built and I've often considered engaging her in a conversation to learn how she feels about the building 6 or 7 years post-construction.

Mr. Neat and Tidy is another regular along my route and he seems pleasant, although he is a bit intense about his yard and his appearance in general.  Very pressed looking, if you know what I mean.  He's a walker and I've noticed he seems to know a lot of people.  And then there's Ms. Never Has a Passenger in Her Car.  I've never really even seen her other than from a distance but she got her name by the way she parks her car - with the passenger side door so very close to the house she lives in that another person could never open the door to get in or out.   I guess I'll have to keep running until I can make up figure out more of her story.  Because while running may seem to be primarily a physical activity, the truth is, for me, it is much more a mental exercise.  And really, who doesn't benefit from more of that?

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