I didn’t run on Sunday. Yes, I know exactly how obnoxious that sounds, but bear with me a bit. I can explain. A few years ago my friend Jenny discovered her love of running when all I liked about running was the stopping. Then she got pregnant, but instead of thinking about how miserable she must be to have to miss out on something that gave her so much joy, I was quietly sipping the Hater-Aide. Not out loud, of course. I’m not so much of a monster that I would squelch anyone’s dream like that. But when we’d pass some spot on her run route and she’d mention how much she missed it—blah, blah, blah—inside I would groan. Seriously, dude? You expect me to believe you actually miss something that torturous? This was most certainly some kind of ploy for attention. And although I understood needing tons of attention while prego, it was annoying nonetheless. There were many days where I stopped myself from whipping out my world’s tiniest violin to play just for her.
Then I became a run addict. Keep in mind that back in January I could barely run 5 minutes straight. Week 7’s 20 minute run still loomed ahead daunting and impossible. Back in January I probably would have made the universal gagging gesture if you had told me I would be mooning over a missed run. But here I am. One of *those*people.
So Sunday, when I missed my run, I learned a few things about myself.
1. I am a better mother when I run.
2. I am a better wife when I run.
3. After I run, I feel more like myself. The real me. The quirky, no-nonsense with a positive outlook me.
On Sunday I was not myself. I was crotchety and inexplicably gloomy despite having slept in. I yelled at my children. I snapped at my husband. I felt resentful at no one in particular and just wanted to take a nap to make it all go away. Monday wasn’t any better, so after yelling at everybody all morning and not making it out the door with enough time to go to the gym before work, I seethed at my desk instead. That evening I had to *make* myself go to the gym, but thank goodness I did. That run was like medication, or prayer. The vague feeling of anger and purposelessness gradually lifted until I felt like myself again. By the time I got off the treadmill I had already started to formulate an apology to my husband. The poor guy had been living with some witch over the weekend, and not the cool, Elphaba, defying gravity kind. I was “…and your little dog, too.” Then I got to thinking: maybe I need this. How many arguments, how many hurt feelings could have been spared if only I had gotten a run in first? Maybe this is the universe’s gift to me to keep me sane and balanced enough to give my family the best parts of me, even if it takes me away for hours at a time on Sunday morning.
Words are powerful and should be treated reverently. In fact the biblical verse that most resonates with me is John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The first time I read that I actually shuttered at its implications. So when I say that I am blessed, I am not just bandying the word about. I truly mean it.
I am blessed and whole and genuinely looking forward to what tomorrow has to offer—after my run.