The important things in life.

Today I drove my mom to work and on the ride home I came across this man I labeled "skinny bald guy" back when I would go running through my neighborhood.  I know---so original.  Anyway, I usually ran into skinny bald guy when I decided to run in the after dinner hours during the summer and into fall.  I don't know if any of you have had similar experiences while running.  Sometimes your schedule just happens to mesh up with someone else's and you find yourself crossing paths routinely.  And as the routine of seeing them develops you can't help but wonder how far they've already run and where they are running to.  In a strange way, you feel connected because you respect that they are out there pounding the pavement just like you.

Skinny bald guy seemed to be an intense runner like me and our paths usually crossed at the beginning of my run on Martins Mill Road.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Martins Mill has a huge hill that roughly stretches a quarter mile.  Not that far distance but the hill is intense.  It's the perfect ending to a long run and regardless of how tired I am when I am at the top, I have a smile across my red, sweaty face when I'm done.  I love it.

Typically I'd start and end my run with this hill.  I usually ran into skinny bald guy when I was running down the hill and he was coming up.  We exchanged polite nods and in my superficiality always thought, I hope he knows I actually run up this hill, too.  I know, it's stupid.

But it reminded me how much I miss running.  I miss my daily runners high.  I miss running miles and miles and feeling like I could have kept going if it wasn't so late and dark outside.  I miss singing along to my ipod even though most of the areas I ran in were highly populated with traffic and people could hear me from their cars as they sat at red lights and I coasted along.  I miss getting past that point where I thought I couldn't keep going but did anyway.  Most of all, I miss feeling strong.

That's just one of those things this illness, and many others, takes from those afflicted.  You are kind of a bystander who is no longer in control of your body.  It's inevitable that you grow weak and lose muscle.  Running was so much a part of my life; who I was, my confidence, my routine, and an outlet for my frustrations.  When you take something like that away, it's difficult to find something else within your reach that can fulfill all of that.  I haven't quite found anything else that compares.

I am hopeful that when I shake all of this and run into skinny bald guy again, we'll exchange our polite sympathy nods like usual.  Maybe he will assume I took a winter hiatus to the treadmill.  But regardless, I will be back.


Nancy said...

El, I really like this entry. With a little tweeking like an intro to living with chron's, this could be an article in Runner's World, I bet.

Nancy said...

The Personal Record or Real Runners section :)


Ellen said...

Nanc, thanks for the info. I'll definitely look into it.