My sister, the ninja.
This morning, I woke up with the sun and jumped out of bed, refreshed, enthusiastic, alive, long before my alarm was set for. It was such a nice feeling, I just wanted to jump up and down (like my sister up there) and dance around the room. It is a relief to feel this way. I can't say I've felt that way in a long time. Especially not in the last 4-5 days. I have been struggling with energy for a while and been sick for the last few days.
Last week, I did a mini taper for the Napa Valley Marathon. I didn't feel great all week, but I figured it was my body doing recovery work while I allowed it good rest. I never feel great during a light taper week, so I figured it was just that. But by Thursday, I knew it was not just that. My energy which has been lack luster for a while (due mostly to low iron and hard training) was even more tanked than usual, I was so thirsty it felt like I had crawled across a desert. By the time we got back from my one good run of the week on Friday, I felt so bad that I spent the majority of the day curled up in bed, without appetite, fighting with a fever. At that point, I knew that the marathon on Sunday was unlikely and I resigned myself to nothing but healing.
I didn't run all weekend. I didn't even consider it. Your priorities change very quickly when all you want to do is be able to sit up for more than 5 minutes without a pounding headache or eat solid food and not feel instantly sick to your stomach. Forget running, I just wanted to feel like being alive again.
Yesterday, I was feeling much better but not all the way. I considered running but since I was balancing on the edge of recovery, I didn't think it was smart. I didn't want to push myself backwards over the edge. I thought about one thing yesterday a great deal: not running. Not "not running" for one day, but never being able to run again. Most people have the ability to run, if they choose to cultivate it. A vast majority of people let this ability go unused. And then there are people who want NOTHING more in the world than to be able to run again. I know a few. I know people who would give anything to be able to run again. But for some, there are health reasons that simply cannot be run past. I can't even imagine. Taking a few days taper and a few days off was nothing. I knew I would eventually get better, get back to running. I looked forward to that time, but also didn't rush it.
When I woke up this morning, I knew I was back. And likely better than I have been in a while. Afterall, the rest my body needed to combat sickness is also additional and highly beneficial rest time for my muscles and body. I sprang from bed, excited. When I laced up my shoes and darted out into the crisp, cold morning air I felt ALIVE in a way that we forget and ignore so easily.
I ran like a child. Pushing hard up the hills, striding in time with the music in my headphones. It wasn't a workout. Forget a workout, this was living. This was feeling. This is why I do what I do. If I could do nothing but run with the joy, passion and pureness I did this morning and never race again, I would do it in a heartbeat. Running is one of my life's greatest and most simple pleasure. This morning, the sun rising over the city, the crisp air against my checks, my lungs and legs working hard, but effortless at the same time I was in heaven, I was following my bliss, I was loving every step and completely soaking in life, the world. That is why I do it. Simple pleasure, passion, joy.