When the sun is just right and I happen to be running in the right direction, I get some really good self reflection time. You see, when I run, I am often looking at the ground. I do this because I am still getting in optimum shape and I have a running form that is too tired and downtrodden. I also do this because I am watching for safety hazards like raodkill, left-behind tires, or just the occasional pothole or change in ground level. (The trauma of staring a deer smack in the face while quickly jumping over her is one that will not be ever forgotten. That day that my typical “downward watch” was off and my “watch out for cars that are trying to run you over” position was on left my pulse racing.) I also look down because every time I see a coin I feel lucky, and once while running I found a mangled wedding band that I turned in for money to buy new running shoes. I don’t always look down as there is so much to take in in all directions but looking at the ground is a necessary part of running.
O.k. I’ve got the looking down part covered. Didn’t want to leave you with any questions.Well, when I am looking down and the sun and my direction are optimal I get the best runners’ treat of all: my shadow. For the past 10 months, I’ve been watching my shadow. I watch it run. It has shrunk by 40 pounds, which in shadow world isn’t much, but to me is ginormous. I watch my knees lifting and dropping and my arms swing front and back. I watch the hairs of my head fly in the wind and the sleeves of my shirt flap.I watch the shapes in all their glory. Often I grieve over the backside, but more often I revel in all my glory. I shake my head in disbelief and then quickly remind my shadow with a nod that I am a runner. Backside and all.
It does something to you, to tell yourself that you are a runner.When you watch your shadow month after month and mile after mile, it changes you. It changes your very nature. When I wasn’t a runner I was much less likely to look for rigorous outdoor activities, now, I seek them out. “C’mon guys, let’s go on a hike!, how ’bout a bikeride?, we could walk down to the library just for fun, it’s just a mile.” As a runner, I can be more honest with myself. I can be in a place of serenity knowing that I have improved, no matter how much farther I have to go. Most of all, as a runner, I feel strong. I feel worthy. I feel reflective. I feel loved by the person who matters most: me. I feel like I can handle any obstacle, no matter how senseless, even if it’s an unexpected dead deer. “What? A dead deer! Oh, no problem, I’ll just hop right over”, all in a second’s thought process. It’s like I’m a female Bourne and it feels omnipotent.
I am sure there are other ways to feel this good, but running is my way. Running and writing. Watching my monitor with my fingers flying over the keyboard underneath is a similar sensation. I think I like my running shadow the most, it speaks to me, and tells me I am a living miracle for the sole purpose that I have a body and I use it to move. And when I am moving, I love myself. When I am moving, I strengthen my body, and utilize my mind at its fullest to conquer all life’s challenges, even if as simple as how am I going to afford my next pair of shoes. Once in a blue moon it all comes together, my physical, mental, and spiritual world collide and God puts a banged up wedding band in my path and my shadow says, “Awesome!”
Coming soon – how I started running – just for Dorry.