Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Serenity #373

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© Photographer Andrew Kazmierski | Agency:

This is an ongoing series from my Bucket List
of things I desperately want to do before
I loose the rest of my vision
My Bucket List
#13 Regain the Strength and Stamina to Run Again
(and then find a safe place for running with impaired vision)

Joy Runneth Over
at age 6
hanging my dolls' clothes
on the clothesline
From as far back as I can remember until my late twenties I was a runner.  I ran everywhere inside and out.  Running landed me in the ER three times before I was 15 and almost in a lake when I was three.  Only the quick thinking and legs of my uncle grabbing me up one or two of his strides before the grassy slope I was running down dropped off saved me from that lake and possibly another ER visit--or worse.

At age four I was running circles around my Daddy laying on the living room floor to decompress after work and fell breaking my left collar bone.  At six I broke my nose on a door jamb running down the hall.  The day before my first day in Junior High I was chasing my brother who ran into the house slamming the door and my arm went through the window as my foot missed the step and I fall hanging my upper left arm up on a jagged piece of glass.

None of that slowed me down. For running was my bliss.  Though I did not understand it as such then, running was my stress relief.  It was the one safe way to express exuberance in a family where all strong emotion was held suspect.  It was my main defense against playground bullies and an expression of my impatience to get to the future.  

I preferred to run the two miles down the hill from my Junior High school rather than take the crowded noisy bus and be subjected to the teasing.  If I left immediately after my last class without going back to my locker I could easily be home ten to fifteen minutes earlier.  I ran in dresses and Waffle Stompers with my books clutched to my chest by one arm and my clarinet case swinging from the other.  

Sometimes the bus caught up with me and I heard jeers and that would spur me to run faster, catching up and passing it again each time it stopped to let kids off.  My triumph was to cross the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill ahead of the bus.

When my 8th grade PE coach had the class running a timed 440 two at a time, I pulled ahead of my running partner immediately and by the time I was on the far side of the track from the coach and the rest of the class she was still on the first turn and I heard the class erupt into loud hoots and hollers that continued until I crossed the finish line where I learned that I had just broken the school record for the girl's 440, shaving over ten seconds off it, bringing it to within ten seconds of the boy's record.  My time was sixty something and the boy's fifty something.

My coach said I had run the 440 like a dash, sprinting the whole way unlike most experienced trained runners who pace themselves on the first 220 and sprint the last 100.  She told me I had raw talent and good form for an untrained runner and said that with training I could compete in the Olympics.

The cheering from my class that day woke up a deep yearning in me and also healed some deep wounds created by the grade-school playground bullying some of those same girls had participated in.  I was told the cheering began when the coach told them that if I held that pace I would break the record.  When I crossed the finish line they swarmed me, pounding my back, grabbing my hand, jumping up and down congratulating me as they continued hooting.

As I made my way through the halls and across the courtyard to my next class the news had already spread and kids were calling out to me with congrats, claps, fist pumps over their heads.  And the teacher herself in the classroom all the way across campus from the track and gym, congratulated me as I entered the room.

Later that week the boy's coach had his class on the track with mine, invited by my coach to see me run and pit me against his best.  One after the other I ran the 50 and the 100 against his best sprinters, winning the 100 and staying on the heels of the boy in the 50.  My weakness was in the take off and the building up to speed in the first 20 yards or so.  

Then it was me against the boy's best miler on the 440.  We ran the first 220 neck and neck but that was only because he was pacing himself like a miler and when he pulled ahead at the halfway point he had plenty of reserve for a hard push while I was already pushing my envelope so that when I tried to stay on his heels I ended up with a severe stitch in my side on the last turn and collapsed.

In spite of that tho, the boy's coach was impressed and lamented that it was too late to jump me through the hoops to get me onto the boy's intramural track team that year.  Deadlines for permissions and such had passed.  The girls at our Junior High did not have any intramural teams so occasionally a girl with talent would be invited onto the boy's team.

In tenth grade I joined the girls track team but I had just spent the school year without taking PE or racing the bus down the hill--my walk home was simply crossing the school parking lot.  I'd lost my edge.  So the next year I took PE in the fall and it was probably the drinking fountain in the girls locker room that gave me Mono.  The doctor would not sign off on me joining the team that year.  I joined again for my senior year but I had not regained my strength and stamina.  

For several years after the Mono, running--all physical exertion actually--betrayed me by causing excruciating pain and profound fatigue. Even relapses.  By the time I hit my mid twenties I had gained 25 pounds and lost motivation as well as muscle mass and stamina.  By my late 40s I weighed 120 pounds more than the day I broke the record in 8th grade.

Over the last four decades I've missed running, longing for it with an intensity akin to unrequited love.  Running had been my Joy.  Pun intended for it had been so integral to my I.  Without it I hardly recognized myself for years.  

Recently running has returned to my night dreams where I am running towards something not away and now I'm daring to hope I can have it back for since January 2009 I've lost 70+ pounds, 30 of them in the last year.

It will take more than loosing the last 40 to 50 pounds to get running back though.  I need to build back muscle and stamina.  I need to regain the desire to exert myself again.  I need to spend less time sitting at the computer, less time crocheting, less time watching videos.  In other words I have to loose the habits of a sedentary lifestyle.  Running won't return to me via simple wishing or daydreaming.

I know how to do it.  Getting more 4th stage sleep where muscle tissue is built and getting back on the mini-tramp for 30+ minutes per day would get me there in a few months.  The question would then become where would I find a safe place for running while all but blind?

I imagine the wet sand beside the surf as the best bet--always one of my favorite places to run--but that isn't something I'm likely to get regular access to.

But I can't let that question stop me from preparing.  I need to trust that the answer will manifest once I've manifested the muscle and stamina.

I would like to be ready for a place to run no later than Memorial Day this year.

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