Once upon a time a long time ago I use to run. I was never fast but I got to the finish line. I used to train for races along with a group of women I’d met online, and then in person at races, and then in person just because they are really cool women. Then I got busy and I didn’t train as carefully as I should have and I tried to get ready for a half marathon having not run for awhile. I ran too much too soon and too far and I suffered a hairline fracture in my foot.
I knew as I was going the longer distances that something was wrong. I knew the morning of the race as I got up before light and packed the car with all the essentials, warm up clothes, clothes for after, water, food, extra socks, pins, number, that I shouldn’t be running this race. Still. I had trained for it. People were expecting me. It was an inaugural half marathon through a pretty part of the country.
I wanted to do it.
During the drive to the appointed meeting place I reached over in the dark to the stack of clothing on the other seat. I didn’t feel my race bib with it’s number, that I KNEW I had put on the top of the pile. I pulled into an empty parking lot and stopped under a light. I searched the car. No bib. I drove frantically home and searched the house. No bib.
It was a sign, I decided, that I wasn’t supposed to run this race. I called my friend and told her I wasn’t coming. Then I went back to bed.
And I never seriously ran again. It’s hard to start from scratch. It takes dedication and time and resolve. And I can’t seem to get out the door. It’s been years, the stress fracture is as healed as it’s going to be. I’ve gone to a foot specialist and purchased custom orthotics. I could do it.
I see runners when I’m driving to and from work, or when we’re on trips. Portland Maine seemed to be the capital of young athletic fit bodies running half dressed through the streets. All seem to float effortlessly. I become enamored again with the concept.
But I don’t float. I slog and running is not as romantic as I remembered.
This weekend I went up to Flint to see the start of the Crim Festival of Races. Ten thousand plus runners and their supporters were celebrating healthy activity, and the love of running. I felt the familiar twinge. No not in my foot; in my heart. I miss the sense of community running gave me. I could do that again, I thought to myself.
In order to run you just have to start.