Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why did I stop running?

Yes, it is true even if amazing to those of you who only know adult me. As a child I ran back and forth across the playing fields at school, around the block, and through the neighbourhood. Later I ran through the woods, across fields of knee high grass, and up and down mountains. I ran for the speed. I ran for the feeling of wind in my face. I ran for the feeling in my calves when I went up mountains and the strength in my thighs when I went down. I didn't sprint, I ran. I bounded down gullied logging roads and never worried about my knees or ankles.

Sometime after high school I became a jogger. Jogging with bare speed but still passing the shufflers - old people and gossiping students making their obligatory mile around the track. Sometimes, in college, I still stretched and then ran through the night. It was good to be alone in the cold air. Then I met people who walked at night; fellow insomniacs who wandered through the countryside and along the railroad tracks at 2 or 3 in the morning. People who talked and listened at a pace that denied running.

And it seems that without decision, without plan, without major incident I have become a non-runner. I walk faster and faster until the treadmill forces me into that dreaded shuffle jog and then my disgust at the shuffle drives me to lift my knees and stetch my stride but there is no joy in this run. No joy but a little pride and the unmasking of an empty place where my running was.

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