Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lately I've been thinking about running. It comes to me almost like clockwork, every Spring, after the Winter doldrums, snow, sleet, ice and cold have passed. The birds are singing their melodic and sometimes sporadic tunes that wake me as the morning comes and the windows are open. I don't mind so much waking up early on a weekend when I know it will be spent doing something, anything with the warmth encompassing my entire being, mind, body and soul. If all that happens is that I sit outside on the back deck, Rascal demanding to run inside and then come back out again 10 times every hour, and the kids needing to be pulled out of the cave-like situation that Silvano has created with the house "shut up" and every blind closed. As long as the feel of the day is the laid back Summer feeling, even in the beginning of Spring, every day is a fabulous one.

With the all encompassing Spring Fever that inevitably happens during the first full week of lovely weather and the aroma of fresh flowers blooming, my mind automatically drifts to thoughts of running. This year I have in my possession a beautiful new treadmill in our basement. Silly to think of running on a treadmill in a dark basement when the weather outside is simple perfection, I know. However, in the last two weeks I have begun my Spring through Autumn quest for the elusive mile and that mile has been reached on this wonderful piece of endorphin producing technology. I've taken myself from zero to ten in a matter of days after 4 months of "taking a running break." Ten isn't a feat of epic proportions, but it was truly only after those 10 miles that that real running bug invaded my heart. Once again, it is inside me, waiting to get out. I want so badly to welcome it, and yet I feel trapped; obliged to say no to this magnet on my spirit until after I complete the daunting task of taking the first set of state exams for my newly anticipated career as a teacher. The exams are next weekend and I feel as though I cannot allow myself the time, when I truly have the time, to run, when I should be studying. It is rediculous, I know. However that stark realization does not make the thought of climbing aboard and running any more palatable to my demented mind. Martyrdom? Perhaps, but only to myself, so what's the point? However, it is what it is, and it is how I have operated for as long as I remember.

But tonight the pull was strong. It has been 6 months and 9 days since my first marathon. The day in October, 2009, at 41 years of age was up there with the best days of my life: My wedding to my best friend, the birth of my two children, and my first marathon finish.

As I watched a movie tonight about a teenager who wants to win Boston and produce a miracle to wake his mother from a coma, an almost irrational fear came over me. Where was my finisher's medal? Last time I remember seeing it was in November when it hung on our refrigerator with the gymnastics and wrestling ribbons of my children, and also accompanied by my first "Third Place" ribbon for our local 3.5 miler. If it's important, it has a place on the fridge for at least a little while. But where was it now?

I finished the movie and went to the kitchen. Almost as if I was opening the refrigerator door for the third time in a row, hoping in anticipation that something new and delicious will suddenly appear out of nowhere, I hoped in vane that the finisher medal would still be hanging there. It was not, of course, and then the search ensued. In the kitchen drawers and in the built-in cabinet: could Silvano have put it there in an effort to tidy up? But then it hit me at 10:30PM on a warm Sunday Spring night. I moved Rascal's crate and went into the built-in to get a flashlight. Upstairs quietly so as not to wake the sleeping loves of my life, I snuck into Brennan's room and heard him breathing so deeply and methodically. It is truly a sound as sweet as waking to the singing birds outside my window. By the small stream of flashlight light, I opened his closet door to where I keep my various race numbers and running related newspaper clippings. And there it was, under a couple of random pieces of paper - my finisher's medal from my first ever marathon. 26.2 miles of joyful memories and a foolish relief came over me like a wave. My adrenaline surged and I smiled in the dark as I thought to myself "I think I'll go for a run on my treadmill tomorrow."