Monday, January 26, 2015

Dreams of Running

Another round of birthdays in the Wood house.  Because we like to cluster our celebrations, we had two birthdays within two days.  Mine was first.  I turned....., and Collin reached the ripe old age of six.  

Caleb walked onto the treadmill and methodically placed his water and a sheet of paper in the cupholder.  He stood for a while, seeming to deliberate on the course of his next minutes.  I gulped, wondering how time would play out.  And then it was if some internal switch flipped in Caleb's brain; he roared the treadmill to life and his feet took to motion.

He started walking, but within minutes he was running on pace with the rotation of the treadmill belt.  His eyes remained locked on the clock.  Several minutes later, he returned to walking.  And so he went in a walking-running pattern for the next 30 minutes.

Caleb is doing the couch to 5K program.  This time, his third, he's entered the plan with more confidence.  He thrives on the predictability.  He appreciates that the treadmill lends itself to a "bubble-like" feel.

He's agreed to do the plan, but scoffed at participating in an actual 5K at the completion of the training plan.  I'm disappointed, but grateful that he's still getting exercise for the next several weeks.  (This from a kid who favors the couch over the playground!)

I thought about Caleb while I was running.  I wondered if one day he'll surprise me.  Perhaps, he'll announce his interest in track.  What if he suddenly begs to sign up for a 10K, half marathon, or marathon?

It's possible.

Just look at me.

I wondered if my mother ever thought I would be a runner.  I certainly didn't start out that way.

At the age of 16, out of the blue, I decided to go running.  I'm still not sure where I developed such a harebrained idea.  Perhaps a cute boy was involved.  I honestly can't remember.  

Nevertheless, I laced up my tennis shoes and raced out of the house.  Our home is perched at the bottom of a hill, and the only way to run is up.  About thirty seconds into my run, I realized it was a bad idea.  In fact, it was a terrible idea.  My lungs felt like they might explode.  My heart was on fire. Every single part of me ached.

I ran about a 1/2 mile.  I practically crawled back into my house and collapsed on my bed.  In between gasps, I made a pledge to NEVER.EVER.DO.THAT.AGAIN.

(Sidenote:  I have a childhood friend with a worse story.  She decided to run for the first time after a heavy Thanksgiving meal.  You can imagine how that ended!)

After a good night's sleep, the previous day's run didn't seem so painful.  I vaguely remembered some good parts.  Didn't I smile once?  And so I pulled back on my running shoes and chugged along that same route.  I limped (not crawled) back into my house and collapsed on my bed. I was hurting, but not as much.

So it continued, day after day.  I added distance; I speeded up; I continued to feel better.  I joined the cross country team.  I ran races.

I got degrees.  I continued to run.

I got married.  I continued to run.

I had children.  I kept going.

I started to run further distances.  I landed at the Boston Marathon.

Did my mother, in her wildest dreams, ever see 16-year-old me running the Boston Marathon?

I imagine not.

And so I keep dreaming about my son.  Holding out hope that he'll surprise me one day too.

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