Yesterday, I returned to the road for my first run since throwing out my back last month. When running feels so good, who needs therapy? I felt nothing short of amazing during my run:
As I run, my shadow follows behind me, cast to the ground where it passes quickly over dry grass, flowers, and road ditches. Nothing but my own body, my own muscles, my own sweat, propelling me forward. I'm aware only of the regular panting of my breath, the rhythm of my Nike Pegasus shoes hitting the pavement. Wind whips around my ears, muting all external sounds so that the pounding of my heart reverbrates loudly. My legs and lungs are burning, endorphines pulsing warmly through my body.
I'm alone with my thoughts, which wander freely, grazing on memories, future dinner menus, weekend plans, and ambitions. For 3 miles, I am just me. Not a mom, not an attorney, not a wife. Just me. I am suddenly calm, relaxed, at peace. My life is in perspective. I feel balanced. Worries roll out like a tide. In their place, the simple sensation of feeling alive and aware of every muscle in my body. That feeling, as warm as a sun-beaten tide pool. Everything is fine.
My legs keep a steady pace as they take on the incline of the bridge. I'm running, suspended high above the inlet, above city level. The smell of saltwater becons memories of carefree childhood beach days. The crisp peaks of the mountain ranges to my left and my right, a mix of inspiration and intimidation, goad me forward.
I arrive one block from my house. My spirit wants to go on, but I'm anchored by my body, tired and sore. I'm tethered home by the stitch forming at my side. Wistfully, I jaunt up the front steps. My body a little more worn down, my mind a little clearer. I pause my conversation with myself and brace for the return of life and responsibility. As I unlace my shoes, I silently vow to return to the road, and to myself, tomorrow.