Archive for ‘running with it’

June 23, 2013

“where the light falls”

june 21st was the longest day of the year and for me, it (almost) was. my body sore from a run the night before i felt tired, worn, and defeated: i was such a beginner again. not quite starting over, but kind of: the relapse in to not running and the bilateral sprains were both slowing me down, both causing me grief.

it didn’t help that my baby had woken up at four a.m. and despite nursing him and loving him he did not return to slumber; waking his brother and keeping me from sleep, as well. two tired boys and a beyond tired mother a good day does not make.

it’s not just that. it has felt long lately in other ways: the time inside our home less and less enjoyable, for reasons i cannot name and that may not actually even exist. my boys are delightful, my man is a miracle, and my life is bountiful but I have, for whatever reason, felt fraught-wrought with inner dissatisfaction, frustration, sourness – none of which i want to feel and all of which are taking me further from the kind of person / woman / mother that i aspire to be.

as it were, amidst my eldest’s preschool graduation, all-consuming efforts to ensure my boys became rested, and the general monotony of being at home, i overlooked that it was solstice. evidence, entirely, that i had lost sight of the light.

fortunately, saturday brought with it my spouse’s company, encouragement, and support. “yes, of course” he replied when i asked if i could go to yoga, “take some momma time”.

yoga is an activity that i practice for both physical and emotional fitness, you see. my body loves me for attending class, for taking the time to stretch it, strengthen it, and heal it. so does my mind. i always learn something from class, not just about my body, but of myself. it is a place where I can’t talk, and that’s good for me, and, instead, i hear the teacher, i hear my body, i hear my heart, and i actually listen.

instead of my usual digs, i showed up at a studio i hadn’t tried before, lahari yoga in north delta, b.c. the teacher, kim, was welcoming, warm, bright, and accessible and she facilitated a lovely flow class that did me (really) good.

in addition, she prefaced the class by acknowledging the meaning and value of the longest day, the one that i had felt but had forgotten. thank goodness she did. she discussed the role solstice has played across time and across civilization: ritual; ceremony; shrines, and highlighted that man had built a number of structures positioned, purposefully, to maximize exposure to the sun.

of course, this day is immediately followed by a shortening; a subtle dimming that sneaks up on us, finding us surprised come fall, come winter, when the sun is virtually hidden. this turn was also worthy of mention, she, presenting the concept of a half-year opportunity: to identify goals, focus on intention, and manifest resolutions for the next half of 2013.

i heard her. i heard her say half. i heard her at the beginning and i heard her throughout the class. the class that my funky mood so desperately, desperately needed. and, interestingly, everything she said, every instruction and every pose correction, made me think of running and where running would take me in the remaining year’s time.

this side of the solstice, we will begin the actual half marathon training. this side of solstice, i will run my first half marathon, right before my maternity leave comes to a close, a grand celebration of effort (in more ways than one). this side of solstice i will be better, for me and for them.

this side of solstice, i will run; i will chase the light.

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June 4, 2013

proud post

my running partner and i met up to run last night; the first run together in multiple months. it was awesome. and, it was significant…
getting ready to leave the house i felt excited that we were both able, and i felt energized. as i was grabbing my keys, big smile across my face, i noticed that the battery on my cell was low. i plugged it in to charge; one last thing to do before i was off.
that was when it struck me: how different things are now from when we began this journey; how far we have come. when we first began running my phone was always with me: fully charged, set to its highest volume, sometimes in my hand even. at every turn of our run, i found myself checking- what if my baby needed me?
this small shift in practice highlights that when we first began running, we were playing another game altogether.
for me, i was 8 weeks post-partum and deep in the thick of adjustment. physically, my organs were groaning, trying to find their place after having been so grossly displaced, and my joints ached after the months of carrying excessive surplus weight.

psychologically, i was immersed in effort, trying to make sense of having a new baby, not that i hadn’t had months to prepare, and while trying to reconcile having become a family of four in my head i was also making room in my heart: for my baby, bless him, as well as for my eldest, my spouse, and myself.
it was all so new: my baby, by age, and running again, conceptually. the act was so tentative; my self concept as a mother, woman, and runner, all so fragile.
since, we have both progressed so far and fitness, distance and fluidity are but some of our accomplishments. we have also survived sleepless nights (months!), we have overcome dark days where our hormones put up a fight, where our mood nearly betrayed us. we have forged forward as people, despite being in the depths of early childhood commitment: where we are to raise others, not necessarily ourselves. we have made time and we have found energy where there was none.

our babies have changed, our bodies have changed, our minds have changed, and our lives have changed. we are transformed.
thank you running. transformative, running.

May 24, 2013

paying for it

i don’t believe in fate: it’s too passive, too deterministic, too lazy.

fate based perspectives leave no room for agency, it dismisses the role of intent, of effort, of contribution. worse, it takes politics out of the dialogue, it allows no scrutiny of social injustice, of oppression, of abuse.

i don’t believe in fate.

this said, it wasn’t but a few days after i re-established myself as a runner that i fell down the stairs and sprained both my ankles, badly. my left toe bruised so deeply i was sent for x-rays to confirm the suspicion that it was broken; my arches purple from strain; my achilles swollen, tender to touch.

i was rendered disabled, not from daily life, thank goodness, but from running. after weeks of not running when i had the chance, now i couldn’t. i had the luxury of choice revoked.

like fate, i don’t believe in Karma: people don’t always get what we deserve.
i, however, did.

April 24, 2013

around the corner and down the way

i did it: i took my sorry, lonesome, and lazy butt out for a run. solo!
well, that’s not entirely true… i pushed my boy brood along with me in their stroller so i did have company, of sorts.
regardless, i say it counts. it was me who chose the activity; it was me who got us ready; it was me who got us out the door; it was me who pushed us all along; it was me, running.
it was a ‘coming home’ run for me. orienting. grounding.
we are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is quite distinct within our big city, separate and removed from the main drag and held in tight by geographic barriers, which creates an intimacy that, i assume, couldn’t be paralled in another neighborhood. and, today, once in motion, there it all was: the view around here and all the hidden and beautiful details that i’d let get by my eyes those weeks that i had stopped running.
there was our neighbours, and the work they had all been doing on the gardens that i had not noticed, having been passing mostly by car. there were the regular dog walkers, and their companions, of course, one now missing though the grief very present in his owner, evident as he mentioned the loss. there was the local elementary school, my big boy pointing and telling me all about it, his local friends who do or will be going, and informing me that he too will attend when he grows up. there was a new mama duck with her babies, all towing the line. there was our river beach, many wonderful memories and all the future dates to be had- just us, the sand, and the open air. there was the heat, having arrived with the spring the last few weeks.
we soon arrived at our house, the run showing me that i, despite my hiatus, had, like the days, gotten lighter- my pace able to manage the kilometers even with the added weight of my children and their carriage. then, to my delight, my eldest son lept out and offered a spontaneous and encouraging high five.

“good work mamma!”, he exclaimed, while my baby happily smiled up at me, having thoroughly enjoyed being out and about at that speed. i smiled large and wide, as well.

there was where i come from and where i am going.

March 24, 2013

shedding skin

my husband mentioned the other day that i was “looking fit”.
the truth is, i don’t. not even a little bit. i look loose, lumpy, and tired (of course), but i do not look one thing fit. i do, however, look like i’m trying and, perhaps, i look like that’s working. and, that’s good.
afterall, it can be a process accepting your child-bearing physique, sometimes a fraught one, and the journey doesn’t end when baby delight arrives for, as you may well know, you are transformed, in many ways, regardless of whether you continue to carry the life in you or any life-growing weight.

though making, nurturing, and delivering my children taught me just how powerful my body is, the months immediately following birth are challenging- awkward as my form adjusts: my bones with creaks and groans and my skin, out-of-place appearing. then, worse perhaps, the middle months, those lodged somewhere in the middle of my pregnant self, my post-partum self, and the self i feel i “should” look like.
i don’t mind being changed, as it is after making a life, but it does take me time and space to reconcile. like tonight, while getting out of the shower, i came face to face with myself in the mirror. with my hair slicked back, skin and stretch marks reddened, and my milk producing breasts dominating my proportions, there wasn’t a lot of self-love in the room.

it just wasn’t pretty.

fortunately, a heap of my sweaty clothes were also in view. i’m getting there, i thought, regardless of how long i have yet to go.