I’ve been running on average five days a week for more than thirty years. You might not call what I do “running” if you saw me out there today, sweating and plodding up the big hill on Sudley Manor Road.
No, I get only a few inches of lift off the pavement, and I am slower than the Hispanic grandpa who lives next door. (This is truth: he is actually running!) Nonetheless, I love it. I have run two full marathons (my knee went out 15 miles into my third marathon), one Army Ten-Miler, and countless ten K races. When I run, I think. Unlike bestselling author Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running) who says his mind empties when running, ideas flood into my brain, much like a Google search. I can sit in silent prayer for an hour in the chapel, with not a single thought or inspiration, but running always opens the flood gates.
I run past the blossoming crepe myrtle we all planted for our neighbor when her husband died of bone cancer. He was a runner, too, up until the devastating diagnosis that came completely out of the blue. Speaking of blue, the sky is amazingly blue, accented by a few streaks of white wispy clouds! I say a little prayer of thanks for the blue sky, and for the fact that I don’t have bone cancer and can still run. My hips feel arthritic, though, which reminds me to pray for all the folks on our parish prayer tree. Thinking about trees, I notice the incredible landscaping around someone’s deck; I wave to the owner, “Nice landscaping!” He calls out to me, “It was my wife! Stop by sometime and she would be happy to give you her tips!” I think to myself, what a nice fellow! So proud of his wife…which reminds me that I should pray for my own husband, as well as my children’s future spouses! I make a point of running through a sprinkler.
An idea pops into my heat-addled brain: I should blog about what I think about while running…If you can call it “running.” I jog, sweating, huffing, pondering, up the big hill.