Sunday, February 23, 2014


If you can't tell by the name of my blog (which I originally started when a group of my friends and I were all going to run the Chicago Marathon in 2009- I didn't make it since I decided to get married and move abroad instead), I love to run. I have had a love affair with stretching out my legs and going for long miles for 18 years now. Sure, we have had our moments of separation and frustration but I always come back to it.

This whole winter, since I got back from Asia on Jan 1, I have been dying to go for a run outdoors. I got one in a few weeks ago when we had a break in the weather and then TWO outdoor runs just this weekend!
Saturday Run- Look at that sky!
While on my run today, I was listening to upbeat pop music and soaking it all in. I had the biggest smile on my face, while I blurted out lyrics randomly, and ran through all the aches and pains of a body under-used.
Sunday Run
While I was thinking about how goddamn lucky I am to be outside running in warm weather, in my favorite city on earth, I realized that my calves were aching, my toes felt funny, I had a side stitch and I wasn't going my normal pace. In all honesty, this would normally have gone down as a bad running day. But this was no normal run. This was a freaking gift. I was given the chance to run outdoors, on the east side path where the snow was melting and there was no ice and no chance for me to slip, at the end of February.

During my run, I passed a lot of other runners who, like me, were clearly out breaking in their legs again. I have a competitive streak and when I am on a path, I cannot help myself but to pick off runners. At one point, I could hear someone creeping up on me, I turned my head just slightly to enter the main path but also to see who was approaching. A man much taller than me. I didn't let myself see much more, but I could tell he was trying to pass, so I did what I always do in that situation. I picked up the pace.  And, for good measure, decided to start singing out loud to try to intimidate him. (You know, like I am in such good shape, I can run faster than you AND sing out loud.) I held him off for probably 500 more feet before he overtook me. When I got a good look at him, I laughed out loud. Who do I think I am? That man was in incredible shape, his calves carved out, his shoulders broad and strong. He moved gracefully on while I felt physically beat but emotionally alive.

This break in the weather gave me a chance to be grateful for things that I normally would have complained about or not considered extraordinary. But not today. Today, I soaked it all in. I embraced the aches and cramps and soreness. All the feelings I miss when I don't get to go for outdoor runs. Those feelings are the warming up of the body for the thing that makes me feel most natural. Running.

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