|A Nike Flash jacket reacting to the camera's flash|
But since I got sick 3.5 years ago, I’ve had to be cautious, limiting myself in ways I didn’t used to, trying not to overdo it. I went running a couple of times last spring when I first started to experience marked healing, but I pushed my body too hard and had a difficult relapse. Since then, I’ve stuck to non-running activities while I continue to gain strength.
I’m thankful I can be active in the year-round sun of Orange County. My delight at once again having a body that can move and produce endorphins and recover from physical activity still hasn’t faded. But I love to run; running has been central to my life for as long as I can remember, and my spirit aches when I can't do it. When I first ran last spring, after years of not being able to, I felt like a fish thrown back in the water. I felt me-er than me. It's been hard to navigate so much of my twenties without the joy of running.
And so, it was with a mixture of great trepidation and hope that I decided to take a risk and do the Nike flash run.
And you know what? I did it! All 4 miles, plus a little bit more.
I felt grrrreat.
It was a beautiful, warm-ish night: the steady thrum of Washington rain miraculously stopped, and the trees twinkled happily.
The course had us weaving our way through downtown Portland. Every now and then we'd turn a corner and encounter a fun surprise Nike had planned, like an African drum troop, or a college drumline. Pulsing street beats were the name of the game.
A little over halfway through the run we stopped at sports stadium that I should know the name of because I grew up here, but do not know the name of because I have forgotten all the names of things in my childhood stomping grounds. Early Onset Dementia. It's a scary thing.
The stadium was grand and professional. While there, we did some strength training exercises and stair runs.
After our stadium exercises we stopped for a bit to stretch, and enjoyed a Nike-sponsored fireworks show over the stadium scoreboard. And then we were off to the races again.
Throughout the run, we had to wait at stoplights a number of times, which provided a nice opportunity for rest and recovery. It was the perfect way to ease into a 4-mile run.
The last stretch of the run was along the river before we wound our way back into the heart of downtown to the finish line where we formed a tunnel and cheered the rest of the runners to the victory.
And then, just like that, it was over.
Until three days later, when I went on a run/hike, and two days after that when I went on another run, and three days after that when I went on another run. So I guess it was a banner holiday season. And I'm tempted to vacillate between planning a running regime for the next four months and worrying about causing another relapse, but I know better than that now. Instead, I've been trying to live in the present, listening to my feet pound the wet asphalt, watching my rhythmic breaths turn to puffs of steam in the cold air, reveling in the moment because I don't know when my body will allow me to do this next. And it's a good Christmas gift, learning to live in the moment like this.
Hoping for piles of happy moments for you today and the grace to enjoy them, my friends.