Friday, June 17, 2011

Sweet, Sweaty Secrets

I have a secret. I ran extra this week. I ran extra twice, actually. I always get my running workout or crosstraining in before work in the mornings. I do this 1) to make sure it gets done 2) I like to shower after sweating 3) I get antsy and am less focused on my intellectual tasks if I don't exercise first. But even after a morning crosstraining session, I broke my own rules, and the unwritten social rule that says you are crazy competitive and/or crazy body-conscious or just plain crazy to workout twice. But I ran extra anyway. And it never felt so good.

Tuesday night was beautiful. Seventy degrees at 8:45 pm, the sun low, the atmosphere magical in that way only twilight can be, where one feels solitude and calm, whether in a city or on a deserted beach.

I had finished working on my book for the day. I felt good about what I had accomplished. I felt energetic. The dog could feel the crackling in the air, was also bewitched. I laced up my shoes, just for another 1-2 miles, I told myself. Just to get out and enjoy the night air. For the dog, I justified.

I ran five and a half miles. The breeze felt so fresh, my feet felt light, quick, almost effortless as I bounced off my toes. The dog was in sync with me, easily. I was following Newton's first law of motion. I was compelled to continue as the dusk turned to dark. Why not? My body was loose, relaxed. My mind was totally free. I was aware only of the light pressure of my toes to pavement, mediated by cushioned soles, the sound of my dog's happy panting, the click of her claws, the wind in the trees' leaves, the punctuated sparking of fireflies, of my being able to breathe deeply. Along the river, the goose turds glistened in the dim path lights.

Back at home with a tired and happy dog, I was refreshed and more energized than I had felt all week. And it lasted. Wednesday afternoon I also felt ready to just go, pound out the workday. It was 5 pm then, and the dog and I only enjoyed two and half miles in the sun. But the sweat and the heat of the day also were welcome, cleansing.

These extra runs were gifts not often given me by my body, and I took them, gratefully.

Tomorrow we'll see how that extra freedom shapes my 20 miler.

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