Yesterday I ran about four and a half miles outside. This wouldn’t be noteworthy, ordinarily, except I’ve been injured for nearly two months, which meant I had to stop running. I recently tried running a few times, just a few miles here and a few miles there, and only on the treadmill, so that if my hip bothered me, I could stop immediately. There are worse things than sweating in my basement with episode of Parenthood. Still, I longed to run outside. Up until today, the last time I ran outside was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Maybe it sounds obsessive and strange that I would know the exact day that I last ran, but it wouldn’t be wholly inaccurate to say I’m obsessive about running and a little strange about… many things.
If you’ve ever been dumped and you were heartsick about it and you replayed all the events leading up to the breakup, asking yourself, What did I do? What did I say? Was I too much? Was I not enough? Was it the way I pronounced “Jeter”? then maybe you can understand why I remember that last run, and all the runs immediately preceding it so clearly.
If you’ve ever replayed the last time you and your ex were together in your mind’s eye a thousand times, shaking your head every time, bewildered, because at the time, you had no idea it would be the last time, then maybe you can relate.
If you’e ever kicked yourself for having taken your time together- especially that last time- for granted, treated it as if it were just like all the other times, and wished you’d not been so blind, because then maybe, just maybe, you could have prevented it from crashing down all around you- it’s a lot like that.
Yesterday morning, I sat on the edge of the bed and put on my favorite leggings, along with a base layer and my trusty, black Brooks long sleeve half zip top. And even though I wanted to go out and run on the road, I also wanted to do anything but go out and run. I felt blah. The sky was low, flat, and, gray. My mind was cloudy and my body felt heavy.
I’m very tired and I have been for months. Even though I didn’t think I could withstand sleep training our second child, it has come to that. For the past few nights in a row, instead of waking twice a night to quickly feed her and go back to sleep, these past few nights, I have lain awake in the dark, listening to the her cry while my heart breaks, my blood pressure rises, my hair grays, and the wrinkles burrow ever deeper into the skin around my eyes. Dan suggests every night that I sleep in the guest room, where the sound would be less intense, and for reasons I don’t totally understand, I would rather hear exactly what is doing, even if I’m committed to ignoring it. Like I said, I’m strange.
I had hoped against hope that Lady Bug would surprise us. Maybe, despite her mercurial disposition, she would learn to put herself to sleep easily in just three nights, as the books and even my sister suggested was a real possibility. We are not so lucky. I am still exhausted.
I stepped into the chilly air and though my legs felt like lead, I took a step. And then another. And another and another and another until I forgot that I was tired. I forgot that I didn’t really want to do this. I forgot about how badly I wanted a cup of coffee (or three). It was just me and the road the sky, footstep after footstep. I like zoning out on my treadmill and watching an episode of Parenthood, but nothing will ever take the place of fixing my gaze on the mountains and breathing in the fresh air.
When I returned home, a layer of moisture lined my forehead where my hat had rested and sweat lined the edges of my sports bra. My mind was clear and my heart was light. My world felt right again.
If your beloved has ever wrapped you up in the warmest, tightest embrace after a long time apart, and you nestled into his chest and took a deep, long breath of his familiar scent, and you felt like you were home again, then you know what I’m talking about.