The end of summer was always so blissful for me. While all of my friends were lamenting over the thought of going back to school, I quietly got great satisfaction out of making my "back to school list." My organized-mother would have us fill out an index card with a list of what we currently had - 6 pairs of white socks, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of jeans, 3 t-shirts, 4 pencils, 7 black pens, etc. She would combine our list of what we had, with her list of what we needed; and crank out a master list of what was left to be purchased....it was always the *secret* highlight of my year.
For me, new things, like school clothes and supplies, always symbolize a do-over. I can do things differently, better, or, if I'm really risky, not at all.
So, as I sat this week and made my list of goals for 2013...my do-overs...the things I wanted to change, be better at, or just forget that I ever tried them...running kept rearing it's head, screaming "hey, what about me?"
And, hey what about running?
It's been a good three years since I've actually trained for something...ran for a purpose.
There's been all sorts of reasons...defenses...excuses...for my lack of running. If I listed all of the cop-outs I've used over the last three years...I'd still be here typing in another three years.
So, I sucked up my pride; pulled my Garmin out of the drawer; and retrieved my running shoes from the farthest depths of my closet.
And I showed up to the track club's annual New Year's Day run.
I was surprised at how many of the faces I didn't recognize. There is a whole new crew of runners when you sit out for this long. The people that I do know...well, I haven't seen most of them in so long...especially not on this turf...it was awkward and a little uncomfortable but I vowed to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.
As I suspected, I was the only person running at my pace; and since the runs were 5.5+ miles, I knew I would eventually - or entirely - be running alone.
And, it was in those first few minutes of running that I realized what I missed the most about running...
The comfortable solitude.
I wasn't far enough back to not be able to see the rest of the group, but I was far enough back to be in my own running world...steering my thoughts towards the New Year...new goals...new resolutions...and maybe even a new Garmin. I was able to have 30 minutes of peace and quiet (I don't get that often with a toddler running around all day)...30 minutes of doing something for myself just because I could. Not because I needed to. Not because I had to. Just because I wanted to.
I forgot what that feeling was like.
So, as I begin 2013...with a slow three mile run...I am reminded of all those years of do-overs...and all the opportunities given...and all the opportunities taken away. My hope for 2013 is that I find as much satisfaction in running as I have in all my many do-overs over the last 36 years.