I run. Occasionally, I run a lot. By a lot, I mean every couple of days. I have no impressive times. I've never run a marathon. But the feel of my breath meeting the air because of minor physical exertion has always had a certain healing power for me.
Every runner has their stride. Mine looks like a hippo barreling down a ski slope, but it's all my 5'4" frame will allow. And after years of convincing myself that I'll never look like Jackie Joyner-Kersey, I've accepted my stride as my own.
We moved into the new house the end of September. With school starting, soccer practices, work and a trip to Ethiopia, my running shoes saw the floor under my bed more than the treadmill.
When I was talking to The Hero about being intentional this year, he mentioned my lonely running shoes and suggested maybe I give them a purpose again in send them to Africa so they would be useful to some one on the planet. I knew he was right.
But i put him off because a bizarre thing happened.
For the first time in my adult life, I was scared to run.
I came up with amazing excuses.
Those pesky kids who demand food.
The treadmill was used to hang laundry, be an iPod player for our bedroom and overall dust collector. I'd stand near it and think of running again but then think better of it and find anything else to do. The more I thought about it, I knew my problem was that I was scared that I'd stopped running for so long that I would never find my stride again. That the work it would take might be too painful, too ugly and might never look the same.
Isn't that the way it is for a lot of things in life? Fear holds us back. Whether it is real or justified or just ridiculous, keeps us from so many things, from being better versions of ourselves because we are afraid of getting started.
Tonight as the kids and The Hero settled in after dinner and were watching basketball, the laundry was folded, blog post was written and the kitchen was clean, I was out of excuses. If I was going to live this year intentionally, it was going to have to find my stride.
I went to find my running shoes.
I flipped on my machine and waited for some thing to happen. And I realized the thing needing to happen was me. I put one foot in front of the other, and then I did it again and then again. Sweating and panting. Panting and struggling.
I moved at the pace of sludge. If I looked like a hippo on skis during my prime, tonight that hippo was ski-less, sliding on her butt down a mountain. But it wasn't for not. Some where in the middle of the sweat and the tread, I lost the fear.
I wasn't scared anymore.
I didn't find my stride tonight.
But I did turn the damn thing on. And tomorrow this hippo will put back on those skis and do it all over again.
And that's half the battle in whatever we're facing. Just turning it on. And then doing it again. Until it's no longer a fear, but a stride.
What are you putting off?