Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unforgettable Rhythm.

I used to run a lot, anywhere from 40 to 60 miles a week. It was something I was good at and eventually my university paid me, the track team named me captain, the athletic sorority voted me president, and I won third place in the state of Pennsylvania in the 10k. But that was a long time ago, a time when I watched my diet, did sit ups and push ups before and got in two monitored and planned runs a day. Then I moved to California and fell in with the wrong crowd. I gave up running and surfing and climbing. I took drugs and smoked weed and listened to subversive music and started to smoke cigarettes. For a long time I smoked a lot of cigarettes a day. It was inexplicable to me; I hated the smell, the taste, the habit of it, the sluggishness and lethargy. I was addicted and didn't know how to quit.

Now I'm clean again. After more than a dozen years. I ran two miles today with my "pink and fluffy" lungs and while it wasn't award winningly fast or all that smooth (my legs feel like wooden poles, my neck was stiff, my 40 year old body just isn't the same as my 21 year old body) it was a rejoining with a rhythm I once knew very well, once rode like an animal over miles of road.

Runners are strange people. It's easy to laugh at their efforts of discipline, their good luck charms, their great exertion and dedication. But after all these years, I know that, while we may forget so many other sensations, like the taste of licorice or the smell of a flooded creek or what it's like to have hands so cold they ache, we never forget a rhythm. Few things comfort me like the pounding of my shoe soles to an 8 minute mile pace. (I'll have to save the 7 minute and the 6 minute for other days.)



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