Two miles- if I tell myself only two more miles I can keep running. Those two miles are the increments that I find myself depending on to push through. Generally I rely on this trick heavily, along with my new favorite- reading trashy magazines. One trashy mag for every two miles- I have it down to a science.
Yesterday the gimmicks were unnecessary because all I could think about doing was my run. I needed to shake off everything. This week was one of the heaviest emotional weeks of my life. Finding running has provided me with an outlet that I never had before. Running, like writing, has become a channel for everything in my life and alI could think of was, what do people do when they’re upset that don’t run?! Riddle me that.
And so I got on the treadmill and I ran. My ankle cracked, my neck was sore. I truly believe that emotions impact our physical well being and let me tell you, I felt like a wreck. I lowered the speed, I slowed down, and I continued. And I ran and I ran until there was nothing in my mind or my body. I just looked ahead, straight into the blackened television screen that I did not bother to turn on. At times all I could think about was David, and my mom, and my brother, and life. I was overcome with grief, but this sadness somehow kept my thoughts so blank, yet so consumed.
The minutes turned into miles and the miles allowed the emotional pain to turn into physical pain, and ultimately it all evaporated. And I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but running allowed me to feel angry, and sorrowful, and manifest that negativity in a better space. I could feel these emotions boiling inside of me and I was afraid that they were going to be taken out on those closest to me. I needed to run, and I needed comfort. Yesterday I ran eight miles straight.
My brother and David climbing a reservoir- typical boys being boys behavior. My mom was so angry when she saw this picture- I can’t believe you boys climbed up that! What’s wrong with you two?!
In some strange way I kept running for David. I kept envisioning this life that needs to be fulfilled- Never be afraid to go out on the limb, and climb as high as you possibly can. Keep going. Don’t stop. Life is too short. Challenge yourself.
I got chills reading this. . . thank you so much for being willing to be so vulnerable and share with us!
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read it!
This is beautiful. I run for so many of the same reasons. It can be so, so meditative and cathartic. When everything around you is chaos, sometimes it just helps to run in a straight line.
One year ago I never would have appreciated running. If anything it was more of a challenge on my life. Having started, I can’t imagine my life without it.
Thanks for your comment and thank you for reading.
It’s difficult making sense of loss, but we find some degree of solace in objects and activities that lend a degree of normalcy in our otherwise nonsensical world. I was never bitten by the running bug, but have discovered writing to be an exquisite means by which to deal with the stresses and realities of life. I like the public nature of this forum; there’s something about sending thoughts, feelings and emotions out into the universe, knowing that like pollen in a spring breeze floating and eventually landing somewhere. The act of writing with raw thought and emotion is equally therapeutic, and constructive, as running or any other similar endeavor I suspect.
We never stop thinking about those that have gone before us. They find us again when we quiet ourselves; stopped at a stop sign, waiting for a bus, writing…or running. Over time their memory shapes us, guides us, sustains us. I’m not sure I have a point here. Rather maybe it’s just that life is a funny, complex thing. It’s our story. Uniquely ours. So much of which no one else will ever know or understand. The further we go the more our heart and soul collects. And the harder it becomes to access.
Run those two more miles, three if you want to. If you need to.
I really appreciated this comment, I am going to send it to my brother. Thank you for your thoughts.
Very excellent entry, this.
Just this past week I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, before, when I worked the evening shift, I would run before work to get my head right and prepare myself for “the worst” (I don’t have a good group of coworkers)…just this year I was put onto first shift and the coworker situation is better, but now I have to get used to dealing with the stress and annoyances without that pre-set I’m so used to. Last week, after little sleep (I panic about missing my alarm, so I don’t sleep well) and a full day of stress and coworker drama, I met up with a friend and opted at the last minute to join her for her full 10 mile run. I felt so stink’n sluggish at the start, but by the middle miles and the end I was slap happy and joyful! Its been hard, in this rough winter around here, to have the motivation to run right after work, and lately the lower miles aren’t really helping me get over things… but no matter what, after I run, I feel like a human again.
I use the “two miles” gimmick too… usually toward the end of a hard run. My last marathon, during the last four miles, I’d yell to myself and anyone around me, “Four miles! It’s only four miles! You run four miles every damn day!” – Turns out it wasn’t just helping me, but it got this woman who was trying to pace along with me to her Boston Qualification!
Keep up the good training and stay injury free!
Thank you for this post Talia. I am trying to come to terms with this loss but peace eludes me. I find that thoughts and memories come unbidden and at the oddest times. I will miss him always.