I don’t know whether I am proud or embarrassed about this, but I joined the thousands (millions?) of other people who re-ignited their running routine on New Years Day. It was not a conscious effort, as I made no such goals for my 2013 resolutions, it just happened. Perhaps because I was listening to what my body wanted to do.
We were up in the mountains then, on January 1st, and my little girl was playing in the snow. Excess energy began to burn a fire in my legs. I warned my husband first, and then, I took off running across the groomed snow. Back and forth, between the edge of the powdered woods and the bunny slopes. Weaving through snowshoers and cross country skiers and kids with sleds that looked like plastic shells.
I may have seemed odd, people don’t generally come to the snow to run, but I didn’t care. It was the first time I’d run since Thanksgiving. Not terribly long, and I was exercising in other ways, but it made me think. What would happen if I ran for a little bit each day? What if I gave myself no distance or time requirements to meet, I just let myself run. For the endorphins, for the wind across my nose, for my heart and for every other part of my body. For fun.
Yesterday, I ran under sun rather than over snow. On streets I’ve traveled many times. But I let myself forget that this is my city, where even the barreling of a Metro bus is achingly familiar. At the I-90 bridge, I marveled at the design, the monstrosity, the speeding cars. It took continuous effort to see creation through new eyes, to stay in that place of wonder and excitement. Where curiosity hides behind every corner. The same mind space I have while traveling.
As I ran, I meditated on my surroundings. Bringing myself back to the winding streets and bare trees, over and over again. Paying attention to everything. Homes with littered front porches and homes with manicured landscapes. People waiting for the bus, people running like me. Lake and sky, both so vast, so blue. Mountains, watching from the distance, like long-gone ancestors.
Running was no longer a form of regimented exercise, something I could fail or master, as I ran with no expectations. It was playtime. Mindful exploration of Seattle’s topography. I walked when depleted, and I ran faster when I felt the angels at my back, pushing me all the way home.