Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Day of Spring

I love running. Today the temperatures rose to the point where I could tolerate a long run outside, and it was glorious after a rough winter of begrudgingly doing time on a treadmill. Do not get me wrong: I am not a hardcore, focused runner, but more of an undisciplined, casual, sloppy jogger. But I love it.

I like having the ability to be acutely aware of my breath and the power to control it. I love the feeling of crisp air rushing to where I can almost convince myself I feel it in the very tiniest end portions of my lungs. I love that feeling of accomplishment when I'm done, knowing I've done something good for my body and soul. I love the time alone, time to process or to not think at all, to pray, to silently sing while keeping time with my breaths or the soft pounding of my shoes.

I love the feeling of wrapping the cuffs of my long sleeved t-shirt around my fingers. I love finding oddities around town on my haphazard routes, like random Cambodian stores or teal houses. The myriad of animals that cross my path never cease to amuse me. I adore the endless paved paths, courtesy of the city of Rochester. I love the lakes, the clouds, the sunrises, the sunsets, and the streams. I am proud that I can easily run what most people consider a decent bike ride. I like running in the rain with a baseball cap on, blatantly slashing in puddles and laughing at the geese who look at me like I'm crazy.

I get a kick out of the people I meet along the way too. I like looking in the face of oncoming runners and being able to speculate their reason to run: most people have a distinct look. You can see the determination and discipline on the face of those training for a big race just as much as you can see the joy and peace on the face of one who loves being outside just running. There are the regulars-people you see often, knowing you both like to run but never knowing their name. You see little glimpses of life: the couple married for decades, holding each others' hand either because they want to or they have to to keep going. The new mom groups pushing their infants in giant strollers. The dog-walkers, the fitness buffs, the young couples, the teenager skateboarders. It is such a cool way to see a dynamic cross section of life.

And I even love what comes after the run. The endorphins flow dramatically, improving my mood and energizing my day. Stretching is so comforting, and it is incredibly satisfying to practically feel the lactic acid buildup dissipate into nothingness with each stretch. No matter what else happens that day, I have accomplished something. I love the way I feel when settling down to sleep the night after a hard run. I can't really think of a good word for it--tightness is too strong, achy is too negative, but it is a content, relaxed strength of body and a peaceful mind that welcomes a healing rest.


Amy said...

Wow, Sarah! I love this post! You are doing some great things with your blog. This one was so descriptive I could feel the life! I had to chuckle when you mentioned the smallest parts of your lungs...alveoli! The other great part was about couples holding hands, either because they want to or because they need to. You just painted such a picture of a piece of your life with a fresh perspective.

Sarah Dill said...

Yeah, I wanted to say alveoli, but I thought I'd spare my non-medical readers. I also wanted to talk about what happens to my nephrons when I inevitably get dehydrated or the myoglobin accumulates...but alas, that just gets a little gross.