Last night, as I was coming up on the fifth kilometre of my run I felt my oomph disappearing with every step. I was a little sore from my weight training the night before, considerably hungry because I ate a rabbit’s lunch and a lot fatigued. One of the downsides to recovering from an injury is that what used to be no big deal suddenly feels like Mount fucking Everest. My right Achilles’ tendon was beginning to complain; my left hamstring was tight; my abs were burning – even my biceps were bothering me.
I slowed to a walk for 15 seconds – breathing deeply and wiping the sweat from my face. Just finish the loop, I said aloud. Finish this loop and then go get Finley. Five and a half. I picked up the pace and found my stride again as I came out from under the cover of leaves and into the sun and wind again. To my left was the “duck pond” at Belcher’s Marsh in Halifax. The sun was dancing on the water and the wind, though strong, was welcome as it kept me from melting in my running tights.
And that’s when it hit me.
I finished the loop and took a left rather than a right, leading me away from Finley’s after school care program. I was doing a second loop. As I started down the trail again, I considered how fortunate I am to have a safe and beautiful neighbourhood to run in; how glad I am to have reliable childcare for my son, enabling me to do a job I love and excel professionally. Running down a small embankment, I thought of a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador who recently and very tragically lost her life this week. I realized that it is an absolute honour and a privilege to be able to go running. Period.
My favourite part of running is so often the way my thoughts seem to wash away with my sweat: a heavy mind is light and new again when I finish. But every so often, I find myself in deep thought – heavy thoughts – when I run and last night was that night.
I run, unaccompanied. I run because it makes me feel good. I run because I feel liberated. I run because I can. Not everyone can say that. After a long day at work and with stress and worry and frustration, I found so much perspective and clarity on a trail last night. The best things in life really are the little things.
Like that extra loop around the pond, just for me.