I Went Running.

This weekend, I went running for the first time in seventeen years. I was inspired to do so when I read a blog post by someone whom I cannot now recall, in which she described her joy in running: of the feeling of the air on her face, hair flowing, the rush of feet moving on pavement. This reminded me of how I felt that last time seventeen years ago, at the age of 14, running in the pouring rain late one summer afternoon. There is an exhilarating rush when propelling oneself forward through space, of being out in the elements, within and one with the earth. When running, there is only the running. It can be meditative, almost zen-like or taoist, in nature. I had forgotten.

I forgot because that last time, in the rain, I was stopped in midrun by some boy around my own age, perhaps older, asking me why I was running, and why in the rain? He asked with a sort of smirk on his face, and I felt I was being laughed at. He made me feel self-conscious and ungainly, and I did not appriecate his attentions, especially considering my growing phobia.

That encounter soured the joy in running. And I never did it again. (Unless I had to, and I ran in the gym, on treadmills. A joyless act.)

But I read that post and I remembered, and yesterday morning, I put on a heavy-duty sports bra, yoga shorts, and white nike sneakers, and went to a local greenway and just ran. I wasn’t able to run much or for long, but managed a mile of punctuated walk and run.

And I was able to feel that exhilaration again, to some extent. There’s still a bit of lingering self-consciousness, but not so overwhelming.

And because I did this for the joy of moving, and not because I HAD to, to maintain or lose weight, I was able to feel my body moving, the wind in my hair, and my heart pumping. I was able feel what I remembered feeling, those seventeen years ago. A small slice of the Tao.