A beautiful fall day. Sunny. Not a cloud in the sky, just smudgy white lines, an old game of tic-tac-toe made by the planes criss-crossing above. It’s breezy, just above 50 – crisp enough to keep a little jump in your step. We run an old route that takes us along the river. It is alive with energy and competition of a regatta.
My thighs are heavy, my knees ache some. I look down at my legs laboring to pull me along. The skin is dry and there’s a little jiggle just above my knee…the legs of an older woman. For a moment I am sad.
And, then I remember…inspired at 13 to join the track team with my best friend because her brother told us we would get fat if we just sat around and ate Cheetos and Sara Lee pound cake while watching Saturday Night Live, at 17 running with my cross-country buddy through the farmer’s fields of Northern Virginia, at 23 running through the peaceful southern neighborhoods of Athens GA, at 30 wondering if this pounding along the pavement was good for my knees and becoming a fair weather runner enticed back onto the roads in spring and fall, at 36 getting Jim to join me in what’s become a shared hobby that’s given us hours together, at 44 deciding ‘now or never’ and running my first (and only) marathon.
As these memories come flooding to me, I feel a sense of satisfaction and joy. These chapters I carry with me, they are my comfort, my strength. Running is forever a part of me.