One of my favorite parts of the week is Sunday morning. Actually, Sunday mornings when I am training for another half-marathon to be precise. By the time I have laced up my shoes, I have already mapped out the run in my head. There is a kernel of excitement and an inner energy stirring in my brain. I feel almost twitchy in my muscles (stretched to near perfection from Saturday morning’s 90 minute marathon of hot yoga!).
I am what you call a running purist. I keep things simple. No doodads or hoohas of technology adorn my body. No solid foods for energy boosting during the run. Definitely water, though. I have been known to place water bottles at strategic mile markers along a route as I despise water belts (although I own one and have worn it from time to time) They interfere with my stride, really. I actually prefer a loved one to meet me along the course with liquid refreshment; it’s a great incentive to keep going!
That being said, there are times when I have too many thoughts spinning in my head and demons dominating my domain. Most of the time, a straight-on run with the sounds of nature give me peace. But on the rare occasion when music is a soothing solution, I confiscate my oldest son’s Ipod. You never know what you will find when you listen, just as you never know how you’ll expect to feel as your feet hit the pavement and pound out mile after mile. The music is the best kind of mix. I can be cruising along and Wyclef Jean will pop on, only to be followed by John Coltrane and then Adele. Seventies rock, Dave Matthews, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley and Frank Sinatra keep me company on my ever changing route.
On this particular Sunday, I chose a more challenging route than usual. Of course, the area where I live does not lack for hills but the route I planned has more than its usual share. And to add to the pain, the last 3 miles were essentially uphill! At times during a run, the most difficult parts of a course can reek havoc on my mental strength- most especially when I feel vulnerable or have a lot on my plate. And this is where my rare use of the Ipod comes in handy.
With 2.5 miles or so to go, a favorite song of mine came on. Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” is a piece that gives me strength and makes me want to shout out loud. Although I have not directly experienced the exact situation spoken of in the song, the theme certainly is the same. The refrain, ‘let freedom ring’ is my anthem! And days or hours or even minutes when the devil of the past pokes me, this song lifts me up. I was so grateful for the timing. I was dog tired with fatigue and I had six more hills to climb. With each refrain, I was able to dig deep, lean in and lift my legs (needless to say, I replayed it!). With a mile to go, the hills were done and so was the Ipod. The battery gave out just in time and I ran the last mile in perfect peace.
And really, this is all I need. Quiet and room to breathe. A means to slough off the negative energy that invades my spirit sometimes. I haven’t felt as good on my subsequent runs this week as I did on Sunday, but that is okay. The mornings have been cool and beautiful with the sun rising earlier each minute. The birds serenade my miles.
I think of Sunday and dream of distance.