I just realized.
I don't really have a love-hate relationship with running like I thought before. I actually LOVE running, everything about it, but it has to be a solitary thing.
That's why I don't always come away from running with the feeling that I loved it.
I'll run with Michael when we work out in the mornings, and I love his company. But I don't really care one way or the other about the elliptical machine.
I'll run by myself on the elliptical at the gym, and it's better with my music on, but I'm still in a room full of stinky, sweaty people.
I'll run with a friend, and I sincerely enjoy the laughter and conversation, but I'm not alone.
I'll run with a stroller...but that's not alone, either.
I relish the chances to shut down and lock up. I'm jealous for time with myself, just as much as I'm jealous for time with Michael. Would you believe? Sometimes Michael and I resist going to events or being with friends because we want each other all to ourselves. It's so true.
But I can get just as greedy for time with Me.
When I think of running in the most ideal way, I think of myself on a trail wide and open, with no one in sight (nothing, preferably). Ideally, I would have a stretch of beach to myself. I adore the ocean, especially when it's cold. A cold ocean is private. Hot oceans equal crowds and parties and lazy vacations. Cold oceans I get all to myself.
So putting it all together, I would run along a freezing cold shoreline with no other people in sight. Alone. Blessedly alone.
Because that's when I can finally let my brain eject its possessions. That's like my secret chance to climb into the attic and unlock my treasure chest without worrying about intruders. I get to cry ugly, I get to laugh ugly, and I even get to sing ugly if I feel like it. I get to be ugly, and no one will insist that I'm not.
I'd feel the cold wind whipping pink into my cheeks, throwing my hair into a flying mess, making my fingers brittle. And I'd feel the sand puffing under the pounding of my legs, making my toes numb because I would run barefoot, my absolute favorite way to use the shoreline...it feels like a more honest way to run, too.
The freedom running, as I've come to think of it, would be medicinal in so many ways. I would be allowed to feel bitter, depressed, lonely, and then-- my thoughts would evolve into the most honest of prayers, and I would feel raised to such a feeling of joy and fulfillment.
Running for me is supposed to be a time that I can take out the garbage. But the garbage is so personal, the running has to feel secret. It has to happen in my secret world.
I would leave the beach with a new level of privacy. Clean, rinsed out, relaxed, with a secret adventure of self discovery and self revelation behind me. Left safe behind me, the treasure chest locked once again, though feeling light as if it were empty.
I am an undeniably introverted person. I live on the inside, and then I project, instead of living on the outside and then internalizing. But I'm also extremely picky about my projection. Who, where, when, what. Picky, picky, picky, picky.
I thought for some time that I hated running because it didn't always give me what I wanted. The physical part wasn't as much a big deal as the mental part. And if the running didn't bring an emotional purge, what was it for? So I thought I hated it. Rather, I loved it and hated that it didn't "work" for me as it seemed to for others.
I'm practically itching to gear up for a marathon. It's laid out in my mental calendar, waiting for me. And I'm waiting for it. I get so into the idea I wonder why I'm not doing it now, but then I remember I have to wait. Because I have a new, nursing baby. Because my husband is in school. Because, because, because. And unfortunately, they're such good reasons that they're not excuses.