Running and Wagering

Today is a good day. I ran sprints for the first time since…..I don’t know when. Well before Easter, anyway, or possibly last year. It’s hard to tell since the running hasn’t been very consistent in a long time.

It was my seventh run post surgery. (Seven, my favorite number). Five sprints of 25-seconds each. I don’t want to tell you how much rest in between so as not to detract from the milestone.

(It was 45 seconds, yikes).

The best news is I feel much better than I did before surgery. As in much better. My speed has come back after not seeing it for a while. I had long accepted what was “the new me,” aka slow. It’s been a rough couple years as far as my running goes.

Turns out I was wrong and I am so grateful for this unexpected surprise.

Also fun today is I burned my boss. This would be a first. Fun fact, in case you didn’t know, Washington (the state) has no income or corporate tax. My boss learned something new today. I made the mistake of not accepting his friendly wager over this trivial nugget. Last time I made a supposition like this, he challenged me to a bet, which I accepted, so sure of myself.

And I was wrong.

I paid up. Today, he was the one brimming with confidence. Once again, a wager was offered. I started to doubt myself. I declined, citing previous experience, and said I would research (Google) the answer.

Later, I pranced into his office to announce my victory. With a smile on his face, he retorted I was “walking the line on insubordination.” I told him it had to be true because my source wasn’t even Wikipedia.

So it was totes legit.

I’m enjoying the moment because it’s only happened once.

And may never happen again. (He’s pretty damn smart).

Back to running…..

There is a great podcast episode from “On Being” called Running as Spiritual Practice (August 18, 2016). Ashley Hicks, founder of Black Girls Run, was one of the guests being interviewed. She said, When I was training for my second marathon — I was running Chicago, and I went to go get some new shoes. And the guy at the running store, I was telling him, “Yeah, I’m not super-excited about this. I just want to get through. I’m kind of nervous about my time and everything.” And he was like, “Yeah, the best thing for you to remember is that the blessing is outside of your comfort zone.”

The blessing is outside of your comfort zone.

Running challenges me every day that I do it. I’ll admit, there are some days that are pure cruisy. Everything is easy, I’m flying along (for me), and feel like I could run forever. I enjoy these runs in their entirety because I know they are fleeting.

The rest of the time it can be a total drag, pun intended.

My first run back, weekend before last, was good in that nothing hurt, but I was slow as molasses. Still, I had the endorphin high of just being back out there, which is a little bit like having great icing on a crummy cake. (I like the icing more than the cake, so there you go).

The second run was painful.  I was sore, yes sore, after having run 20-minutes the day before. It feels pathetic to admit, after all of this time, some days seem as if I’ve never done it before. Nothing works, everything hurts, and I’m sucking on my lungs the entire time. It’s during runs like this I think to myself, “You might as well have been the pack-a-day, and a baker’s dozen-a-day kind of girl, ‘cause you sure as shit are running just like one. Might as well have enjoyed the spoils if you’re going to pay the price anyway.”

Yep, some days are just like that.

But on the third day, my third run back after surgery, the magic showed up. I found a gear I hadn’t seen in a while. And it all felt easy and fast, even if I didn’t feel like I could run forever.

It was in there and that was enough.

Of course, as luck would have it (which is no luck at all), I got a little food poisoning in the interim. When the waiter tells you in the first five seconds the restaurant is closing for good the following week, that’s your cue to leave. I thought it for a second, but didn’t, and once again, I will not doubt myself next time.

My gut tried to tell me and my gut paid the price for me not listening.

There were a couple days of recuperation required, and three subsequent shitty runs after that. (Shitty things come in threes, right?). I thought maybe the magic was an illusion. A one-off.

But on my fourth run, following the food poisoning, the seventh run after surgery, the magic came back, and this time I really needed to do sprints because I did not have enough time to run far enough to scratch my itch. On days like this, you either go fast, or go long, and if you’re incredibly lucky, you get to do both.

The blessing is outside of your comfort zone.

The goal posts, beyond my comfort zone, have moved farther away. How lucky is that? I have more to reach for and farther to go getting there.

My journey is longer and the destination still out of reach.

Now, if I only trusted myself when my feet are held to the fire by a friendly wager….

I had better keep some cash on hand at the office.

Just in case.

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