There I Turned

This morning I ran the same hill I wrote of nearly two weeks ago. No music this time, just the whump of my agitated heart, the scuffle-slap of my feet atop the graveled road, and the deep drawing of breath. It was early, and I saw no signs of wakefulness in the houses I passed, and I imagined the people within, still ensconced in slumber. For a moment I envied them.

In my previous life as a runner I was always motivated by fitness, or at least a certain assumption of what fitness meant. If I could run six, seven, eight miles at 7 minutes a mile, then surely I was fit. And I suppose I was, and for whatever reason, that once meant something to me. But now I run only because I like the way it feels, that peeling back of the extraneous that for me always accompanies hard physical exertion. I know I am slow, and lacking in grace, and short of endurance, but none of that matters to me now.

I climbed the hill in my lumpen way. Halfway up, I removed my shirt, let the blinding whiteness of my little belly fold itself over the belted brim of my work shorts, where it  jostled in ways most unflattering. I watched the small bouncing pouch of it for a while as I ran, struck by an inexplicable sense of its hilarity. Then the height of the climb, where the road ends, and where someday, when I’m good and ready, I’m just going to keep on going,  straight into those dense woods like an animal running for the place it knows best.

There I turned and fell back down the hill.





18 thoughts on “There I Turned”

  1. Grateful for the notification of something new to read as I sit here sequestered in the camper with Scout while the guys do some tree work. (He’d rather be under foot than out of the way.) Anyway, the last sentence of the final paragraph… unexpected. That was pretty great.

  2. I hope you fell down the hill laughing.
    I know I would and I can related only too well to that floppy whiteness…. Boy, am I out of shape…

  3. “The whump of an agitated heart” . . . “I climbed the hill in my lumpen way” . . . such vivid images you paint with words. MAGNIFICENT! THANKS!!

  4. I started running a little bit, too, and I thought of you and the piece you wrote about running a couple of weeks ago, and it gave me comfort as I coughed my way up the mountain.
    I hate running.
    Give me a bicycle, and I can easily ride over mountain passes and such, but running is really, really hard for me.
    It might be fun to grow a little belly so I could watch it bounce along as we run together.

  5. I just want you to know that your posts bring me a little bit of joy each time. And a little bit of wistfulness, and a little bit of hope, and usually, a little bit of laughter. This one had all of that. Thanks for writing, because I sure enjoy reading.

  6. I bet if you’re running from the police, and they want to kill you or lock you up in a cell, it doesn’t hurt as much. Of course there’s other kinds of running (non physical), which I do alot of. Marathons in fact.

  7. I used to run competitively and it meant a lot to me at the time. A psychologist could have a field day explaining how I was (literally) running away from troubles I was experiencing. Funny, once those troubles got sorted out, I didn’t need running anymore and completely gave it up. Now, I don’t even own a pair of running shoes. What doesn’t take a psychologist to explain to me is that, once I found what I wanted, I didn’t feel the need to be in such a hurry anymore (I was never one of those runners who ran just for fun. When I ran it was for as long and as fast as I possibly could go till I had nothing left.) One I became a mother, I was only too happy to amble along with baby in sling, then toddle along with one while the other was in the sling, then quick sprints to catch one while the other escaped in the opposite direction and now to skip and jump holding hands or to sprint just to see “who’s fastest.” But, now I do it all in muck boots or hiking boots which is just about as fast as I want time to go. I used to like being quick like a deer but now I am happy to be a lumbering elephant. 🙂 Thanks for the post and the thoughts it brought about for me. Good to get those things sorted out in your head every now and again.

    1. NC: I used walking in much the same way. Troubles in life…walk them away. Happy in life…ambling along! Thanks, you said it perfectly.

    2. when I was a kid walking out on the fields all by myself made life good again. Then I moved to the city and walking was more stressful than peaceful. I started swimming. Afloat in very little stimulus and I found peace again.

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