So, there are runners.
And there are people who run.
Just like there are cooks, and people who cook. Dancers and people who dance. Footy players and people who play football.
There are people who do things effortlessly. As if an embodied gift, straight from Divine. And then there are people who do things, well, a little more clunky. There’s a real work involved. Bringing with that work – sweat, tension and a rigidity. Constantly getting in the way of the simple grace of the goal.
I’m a runner. I’ve run around every postcode I’ve ever lived in. Through the mountains of the burbs. To the Streets of the big city. Through the bush to by the sea. The only constant company on my runs – my breath, my heartbeat and my mind.
All the while quietly falling into the rhythm of my movement, was always myself.
But recently, after over 25 years of running, things started to shift a little. The shift progressed pretty quietly in my task orientated, obsessive, routine driven schedule. Making running started to feel different. It felt kinda sweaty, tense and sorta rigid.
In fact, running started to feel sore.
But I kept going. Because people had told me I was a gazelle. And faster than the wind. I liked what people said about me as a runner. And heaven forbid I put on a few pounds.
Being a runner made me feel fast. And powerful. And strong.
While injury made me feel weak. And vulnerable. And ordinary.
As I kept going, my running became limping. My limping became dragging. My dragging became collapsing. But I didn’t stop. My leg giving way turned my morning run into a hobbled fast walk inter sped by repeated bum stretches on any chair or pole I could reach my foot onto or find.
My routine running mornings started to begin with apprehension. My pain sensitive brain heading straight to my pain projecting bum – pretty much before I was consciously awake. Seeking stimulation solace, I sat in my arse through shorter runs and longer wakeful nights. And despite everything from needles to golf balls in my arse – nothing would make the pain stay away.
Each class I taught, I winced. Each sadhana I practiced, I cried. Everyone who noticed had a story to share about what hade saved them from the same state as me. Recommendations from Bowen to blood injections, “my leg” became “the leg”.
I wanted to cut it off and put on a new one. A flexible, supple, strong leg. Like my old one. The one I lost somewhere on a run.
Then my 5 year old asked me to play footy with him. I explained,”mummy’s leg is too sore.” He didn’t understand.
I realised, I didn’t either.
Think core stabilisers, hip stabilisers and inversions.
In April this year, I stopped running. Or rather, it stopped me. I realised I wasn’t a runner anymore. I was someone who was running. I was full of effort. And hardship. And pain. I was hating my running as much as my addiction to it.
And hating how weak and powerless I felt over it.
My routine morning running days became sitting days. Complimenting my movement on my mat came the solidity my body craved. I used my seat to settle quietly into the rhythm of stillness. my inly companion my breath, my heartbeat and my mind. It took 3 months to feel flexible, centred and open.
Today, I started walking. When people ask I say, “I’m not running at the moment.”
I’m not sure if I’ll ever run again. But in giving up my routine, I’ve given up my addiction. And in giving up my addiction, I’ve gained. I can play football with my youngest lad. I can jump on the trampoline with my middle red. I can swing to the tree cubby with my eldest wise one. I can lay with my lover. I can put on my shoes. I can even do up the laces.
There’s a lightness in my leg. Which has settled into my soul. It comes when rather than give something up, it gives you up.
And running has done that to me.
Will I ever run again? Well I’m not running at the moment. And I am loving this moment. And the moments between each moment. Because I beat my addiction. I put on a few pounds.
And now my feet can fly.
In running shoes and all.