Posts tagged ‘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.

February 28, 2013

finding my stride

each night that i ready myself to run, i engage in a certain set of behaviours, developed in response to my three year old son’s comfort needs.

my biggest boy is an interesting blend of personality and rigidity. this child, who on a good day is bright, curious, engaged, thoughtful, caring, intuitive, perceptive, creative, and independent, can be particular, anxious, hyper monitoring, sensitive, touchy, rigid, demanding, and unreasonable on a bad day. on everyday, it would seem, he is vulnerable to intense experiences of emotional distress if there are changes in routine without notice or preparation.

generally speaking, we are on to him and his ways and we do our best to protect him from unnecessary discomfort, whilst also trying to expose him to spontaneous living so to encourage confidence in the face of the unexpected, as life, of course, can not all be premeditated to suit his preference. he has skills in his favour and uses language to process, he is fortunate to have an affinity for this, which helps. he also has many rituals. rituals that appear, sometimes, without me having realized that they were being designed.

it was sometime a few weeks ago that i recognized the words he was using were familiar, and realized that he had said them to me the last two runs prior. it was then apparent that he had also established a routine of doing certain things prior to and as i left the house.

over all, he has adapted well to me leaving for evening runs. i’ve been quite impressed, in fact, considering i depart prior to his bed time, so he is very much aware of my leaving and the tradition of my putting him to bed disrupted. though his father is involved in all aspects of his care and has put him to bed regularly, i still am often the one to bathe him, read to him, sing to him, and cuddle him before he puts himself to sleep. a love habit, i guess, that carried on past the year where i breastfed him before sleepy time and, for that reason, was the only parent who could do the bed time routine.

this said, the ceremony has revealed itself and, if rushed, he unravels. it looks the same each time: his father bathes him as i put his baby brother down. i dress for the exercise and the cool night air in the room adjacent to his tub. whilst doing so, i explain that i am getting ready to go for a run, as it is important for me to take care of my body.

“okay, momma” he grants from the other room, unconvincingly.

he pauses usually, stuck in his head a bit, and then begins again, seemingly having processed and reconciled that this is the plan.

“you’ll come back” he says for his own benefit, as i have no doubt that i will. “of course, son”, i affirm. “mom always comes back to you”.

“hug and a kiss?” he asks, as if he would ever let me get out the door without this. i happily oblige and good night and sweet dream wishes are said.

“i want to wave good-bye to you from the window” he states, becoming fearful that i will leave without him being able to track it. he explains to his father that he is all done in the tub, panic in his voice as he jumps up and out, covered in bubbles.

i explain that i will wait for him and that by the time i have my shoes on and am at the car, he will be ready at his window, as well. i do as i said i would and gather my running watch, coat, hat, and reflective gear, put on my shoes, make my way to the back of the house, and stand, beside the car, looking up to him in the third floor window.

there he is, alternating between waving frantically, making heart shapes with his hands, and blowing kisses. i do the same. i then get in my car, turn to face the road, roll down the window, and wave theatrically up at him. he relaxes- his shoulders and chest show me as much as they find a more natural posture.

i’m okay with the system. his behaviour, although inconvenient at times doesn’t faze me much. you see, i also have some peculiar habits and it wouldn’t be hyperbolic to claim that some of them are rather bizarre or even compulsive in nature.

the point is, we all have ceremony. and, as small and as insignificant as the behaviour may manifest, the ways in which we occupy our time have meaning beyond what the unknowing, and uninformed public, may be able to see.

this is what running has become for me in the last nine weeks that i’ve been taking my legs out to dance. it sounds neutral an activity enough, but it is far from the simple and basic act of exercise that a passerby may interpret.

as i have found my stride whilst running, i’ve also been finding my way as a mother of two. i have made friends with who i am now, as well as how i am living at present. joy is increasing. perhaps, it could be said, because of running. running has helped me make sense of it all, shake out the crazy, regulate the anxiety, and it has given me purpose, structure and form to my evenings, which otherwise might be vacant and hollow for the social isolation and fatigue. running has become my standby, my go to, the feedback that i need, alone often with only my children for company. running helps me get my feet on the ground, literally and figuratively, and has become what helps assure me that i have influence, that i can contribute to the outcome, and that the world can be predictable. i need this just as my son requires being reminded of the same.

it is an activity that has become increasingly sacred to me. not just because of the religious way in which i repeat the act, but also the priority i’ve given it in time, space, head and heart. as my son’s physique relaxes when he has his neurosis validated and accommodated, my form also feels freed and at peace once a run has been completed: i feel respected, i feel heard.

with gratitude, hh.

* originally posted @

December 19, 2012

mom on the run

a few days ago i took this postpartum body out for a run. i flirted with running last week, just to show this old girl she could, but on saturday, it was officially run number one.

i took myself along a road i have driven, biked, walked, and ran before but, despite it’s familiarity, it all felt different. my body felt different, my breath felt different, my mind. in all fairness, i guess it is.

when i was 23, i moved from montreal to the edge of vancouver island, to a little sleepy town i had often visited and had lived in once before, and now, 10 years later and after having left again to pursue different dreams, i was back, returning to connect with my husband’s family over the holidays and hopefully with myself, too.

we come back often, as you do when you love a place and the people that make it so, and so i am no stranger to the area. i felt it though, while running, that something had shifted.

it’s not just my perception, i don’t think. a tremendous amount has changed since i first lived here- not just structurally, as the town has expanded multifold, but i have transformed too, as has my life alongside. there are the obvious changes that can’t be missed- i come back now with a partner and with two sons that our union has produced- but there are other aspects altered, as well. unlike the town, my changes don’t always feel expansive, however.

i am older now, you see, and my pace on the side of the road doesn’t allow for me to pretend that i’m not. my body, riddled with scar tissue and stretch marks, has broken down some- sports injuries and car wrecks have caught up with my joints and i am less fluid in motion.

my spirit has aged too- i am no longer full of maybe dream lives brewing, bubbling and bursting in me- i live that ‘maybe’ now- and having arrived where i’m supposed to be i don’t behave as though every interaction, moment, or choice might bring me to one of those potential possibilities. i don’t question what might be constantly, i am not as thirsty, and i’m not reckless with my acquaintances, money, love, or time. and, though this is responsible, it is also less exciting and i find that with less chaos and with more intimacy in my life, i have also become more insular, less connected with much outside of my wee world- sometimes not out of preference, but out of necessity.

i’m pretty sure that it’s for this reason that my love of running has not changed, despite my body’s resistance and my deteriorating performance. i see things differently when i’m running. i think differently. i dream and create opportunities in my head differently, or at all. it’s all forward running, no circles, and i notice what is present, and what is absent. i notice me. on saturday, i noticed others too, people i know from former lives, and i noticed that they have apparently also aged. and though this unfortunately confirms that time does not wait for anyone, it also highlights that life is, indeed, advancing in some linear way, regardless that i sometimes doubt that this is true for me.

since, i’ve taken my shoes to the beach a few times and felt my lungs, head, and heart open up. i like who i am at the end of a run, i like who i might become. i’m gonna keep it up. lots, actually. stay tuned.