Sunday, October 7, 2012

Running, the wind and Coldplay

Like well-crafted stories, good runs have a natural arc. The first mile is almost always a chore as my body gets used to the shock of running. Somewhere deep in my brain, I sense a bored sentry dropping his magazine and springing into action, suddenly aware that we need more oxygen, more blood flow.

This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then I settle into a pace and the running is, if not effortless, pretty comfortable. Until the last mile, which is a mixture of anticipation and fatigue.

Some runs are better than others; some are longer than others,  but even so, the arc is always there, with just different degrees of difficulty.

For the first time since treatment began, I was able to get out two runs in a row this weekend. Yesterday's was more difficult as the standard starting struggles were exacerbated by a strong headwind and a lack of pre-run carbs. But I muddled through, found my pace, and as I made my last turn, I picked up the pace for a last quarter-mile kick, just as Coldplay's Fix You shuffled into rotation on my iPod. As I lengthened my stride, the thought: Take That, Cancer, went through my head. It's not that I'm running because of cancer, but every once in a while, it feels good to prove that I'm fine, cancer notwithstanding. (Fix you, incidentally, is not only one of my favorite Coldplay songs, it was also our anthem when we were doing home physical therapy for Matthew's broken elbow.)

This morning's run, on the other hand, was a breeze (must be the company). But regardless of how easy the runs, they were both great -- because fast or slow, easy or hard, I'm just grateful to be running. I said earlier that I tend to walk fast. I also like to run fast. It may take a moment or two for my engine to get started, but when I get a full head of steam going, it's really a magical feeling. My feet feel like they barely touch the ground. Few things make me feel as alive as a full-out sprint. It's a time when I'm thinking about anything except the feeling of running. I'm in the moment. 

And while I really don't like running in the wind, I'll gladly run when the weather is otherwise extreme. Rain, snow, cold, heat:  I don't mind them. In fact, I  kind of like them. Whether it's jogging through a warm summer rain or a quiet steady snow, it makes the moment even more vivid.

--Michael


Here's the Coldplay video for Fix You. If you're not familiar with it, stick with it for a couple minutes-- and sorry for the ad at the beginning.