I went on a run today.
If you knew me a year ago or more, this would not be a remarkable statement. But if you know me today, you know that it is remarkable, because I quit running almost exactly one year ago.
I didn’t mean to go on a run. I meant to do yoga. I meant to go to class, and find a dress for the wedding tomorrow, and drink a glass of wine. I meant to take my dog on a walk.
But instead, I accidentally took my dog for a run.
And then, I dropped my dog off at home, changed into more running appropriate attire, and went out, this time for a deliberate run.
I didn’t run far. But my lungs felt alive with the influx of the chilly fall breeze. My heart was aflutter about being put back to good use. My legs felt like wings lifting me off the pavement. I felt alive. I felt free.
I enjoyed feeling the rush of blood, the rise in my systolic blood pressure, the increase in temperature. I liked feeling the flush of my cheeks, the watering of my eyes from the wind. I enjoyed the work of my calves as I sprung off my toes. I was having so much fun, I ran as fast as I could up a hill, just to see what it would feel like.
It felt like being alive. It felt invigorating. It felt like adrenaline and endorphins and a bursting open of my lungs. It felt like freedom.
As I was experiencing running as if for the first time, some annoying thoughts crept into my head. What am I doing? I quit running to focus on yoga. What does this mean? Is this something that will continue? If it does, what does that mean for my yoga practice? Can I run and do yoga at the same time?
Quitting running, for me, was like a terrible breakup. I was in a twelve year long relationship with running, and after time it became abusive. Running was a tool in a war against myself. Near the end, I couldn’t remember what it was like to enjoy it.
I ended our relationship with a clean break. I cut all contact, except for a few affairs, and those were just out of habit.
And now, a year later, and I am finally free of my past relationship. Today I enjoyed running, not because it was a tool in my own self-punishment, but because I legitimately enjoyed its company.
So what does that mean for my yoga? Can the two co-exist?
But do I really even need to answer that question? Isn’t it obvious? Yoga is why I could run today and enjoy it. Yoga has brought me back into body. Because of yoga, I know my body enough to know that sometimes, I need meat. I know when to push my body farther, and when to stop to protect it from injury. Yoga has led me to a re-aquaintence and new love and respect for my body.
I could not have run and enjoyed it today without yoga. If I continue to run, it will only be made possible by my yoga practice. And if I don’t continue to run, I will still keep my yoga practice. And it doesn’t matter if I continue to run or not, as long as I pay attention to my body and know what I need at that moment.
I debated posting this story because what does it matter? I feel strongly that, overall, your story isn’t important. Who you are today is important. What you are doing now is important. It doesn’t matter that I used to run and now I don’t, and it doesn’t matter if I continue running or not, and it doesn’t matter if you know that I run or that I don’t run or how I even came to this decision. What matters is who I am today. And today, I ran. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow. And I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.
But there’s something fascinating about knowing how someone got to where they are. The story doesn’t matter. But sometimes, there’s something to stories. There’s relate-ability. (Is that a word?) There’s comfort. There’s interest. And it doesn’t matter if I run or don’t run. But what I learned today was that sometimes you do things and you don’t know why you do them, only to find out way later that there was a reason. And I learned that breaking your own rules you’ve instilled is sometimes the best way to move forward. And that sometimes you have to cut off contact in order to appreciate what you have.
And so now you know my story from today. And it doesn’t matter, but maybe it does. Maybe it means something to you, and maybe it doesn’t. And maybe I’ll run tomorrow, and maybe I won’t. It doesn’t matter. But now I’m no longer a slave. Now, I am free.