Thursday, February 9, 2012
run lola run.
I first started running in 7th grade. I was sort-of-chubby and had rather large breasts, so it probably wasn't the easiest choice of physical activity to participate in. I was carrying a lot of weight.
In 8th grade I joined the track team. I ran for a year, won nothing, and quit.
The summer before my freshman year of high school, my appendix burst and abcessed into my colon. I almost died/was supposed to be dead. I definitely did not run for a long time after that.
I began to dance when I was almost fifteen. I came to it late, trained ridiculously hard, and became damn good. I really was.
At almost sixteen, I became ill again. In and out of hospitals for months and months. I was diagnosed with possible Crohn's disease, which has since been discredited. So it's one big mystery, even now. Again, I wasn't running. Or dancing. Or really doing anything other than surviving.
I took myself off medication that I was convinced was making me sicker. I slowly became better.
Fast-forward to eighteen. I'm still dancing, working, considering moving to Seattle to pursue dance education. Then I get sick--yes, again--and on top of that, started having more frequents bouts of immobilizing neck pain, mostly aggravated by my dancing.
Now, here I am. Recently diagnosed with severe anemia (so severe that the doctor's actually could not understand how I even managed to get out of bed), still having a horrendous time with my neck, and still occasionally sick with the mysterious stomach difficulties. Oh, and my uterus hates me, but that's another story.
I began running again last year, on a whim. I had managed to keep in reasonable shape, through barre work, walking, and eating healthily. But because of my neck I couldn't (and still can't) full-OUT dance, like, REALLY dance. Where you sweat and sweat and sweat and toss your head around and lift your leg over your head and fall to the floor. Yeah, I can't really do that anymore. But I needed something. Not only more effective cardio, but some way that I could physically express my joy with like I did through my dancing.
How the hell do you express joy while running?
I know. It sounds strange. And it definitely wasn't joyous for those first few months. I mean...wow. I was out. of. shape. Terribly. But I stuck with it. Even if it was only twice a week, I stuck with it.
And cried while my calves cramped every night. Ugh. I hated running.
But here I am now. And now means: On the weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, I bundle up and go out in the afternoon for my run. I either go all over my (very hilly) town, or I go a few blocks over to the mile-long rail-trail, where these pictures were taken.
And you know what? I love it. I absolutely love it. My legs are strong, from my thighs to my ankles and feet. My lungs are warriors, no longer huffing and puffing, but breathing steadily. My heart pounds, thanking me. This feeling of strength is new to me. Strength. I am not used to being strong. I'm used to being the weak one, the sick one, the one that always needs help. Some of that is still true, at least some of the time.
I can run. I can't dance, and yes, that makes me sad. Actually, it's devastating. But I can run. And I can run well. How awesome. Me, who otherwise seems to just flounder physically.
I am a runner.