Sunday, May 25, 2008

The space between the spaces.....

This song is bouncy and colorful. Just right for Memorial Day! Enjoy!

Courtesy of my friend over at Buellers Kitchen

I was thinking about this for a while. I write in my blog on a very consistent basis, and i mention my running in passing, but i've never actually dedicated a whole post to my love of running. Here goes:

One day about 20 years ago, i was looking at myself in the mirror and i thought, hmmm...i am 26 years old and i am getting a beer belly! Now, mind you i don't drink beer so this came as a big shock to me. My legs were kinda flabby too! So, being 26 years old and invincible i decided to make use of the new sneakers i bought, and the gorgeous boardwalk where i live. I laced up. I didn't have any cool running clothes so i made due with what i had at the time.

Now, again being a naive 26 year old i thought, dude i can run at least a mile the first time. OH NO! My brain and my body obviously were no where near in sync. Wanna know how far i ran? 1/4 of 1 mile! Thats it!

Ok, now your she going to go through every single year of her running life since she was 26? Nah! Lets just say after that first run, i was hooked. Crazy right? I just felt the weight of my problems lift and i saw everything so much more clearer than before. Just something about moving every part of your body in sync and getting into a zone of zen! (dirty minds need not apply here)...I didn't even listen to music back then. Ipods were just a small glint in the back of Steve Jobs mind.

So, after that first day of running, i slowly built up my stamana and got up to my desired goal of 5 miles a day. Fast too! All on my own. Day after day i would run my big butt off. After about six months or so, i noticed others running and waving at me. I was shy, but i thought hey let me smile and wave back. That started some friendships that are still strong today.

My running mentor, as i like to call her...Ilene! Amazing, amazing person! She is a pediatrician in the heart of Coney Island. She treats 13 year old pregnant girls with Aids. She treats young children with STD's. She treats babies so sick that some other doctors turn them away. Sometimes, she treats them for free too! She has, over the years treated me as well. I trust her completely, not only with medical advice but also with running advice. She's incredible and i love her.

There are others as well. Running through the years, overcoming injuries, being a friend, always concerned about eachothers wellbeing. I call them my running posse. A posse that i am very proud to be a part of. We did races too. On the boards, every Memorial Day and Labor Day! I did tons of races in Central Park. Practically every weekend, infact. At the winter races, afterwards we would all congregate at the local public school for some hot cocoa and cinnamon raisin bagels. Back then, i was very unaware of the raw food community. I did though eat very healthy to fuel my body for running. You had to!

I guess you can say the highlight of my running career is when i completed the 1991 NYC Marathon. 26.2 miles or 26-mile 385-yard marathon footrace. Finish time: 5:18:12, overall place 23,543 and by gender 4,312. It was intense, very difficult and extremely challenging. But, i did it. I have never been able to duplicate the feeling of crossing that finish line in anything else i have ever done since. I saw people dry heaving, falling on the floor, and grabbing the 2 bananas that were given to refuel themselves. I had my sister Sue and some friends waiting for me at the family area and they were so happy for me that i completed what i set out to do.

I've had numerous injuries and time outs from running. But, somehow God always leads me back to it. God protects me from harm when i am out there running. I've learned to listen to my body. When it says stop, i usually do. Spiritually, though running is all that and more! Just think about are out there, the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, no wind and you are running easily. These days are made for running. God says today i want Michelle to get out there and just run. Run as if there are no obstacles, run like Forst Gump, run like the wind!!! And i do. And i thank God every single day that i am allowed to do this. It's mystical and magical and lovely.

I am no longer a 26 year old runner am i? I've run in the snow, freezing temps and windy, 90 degrees, alone, with friends, i even took running classes. I thought i knew it all but i am constantly discovering new things while running. I would venture to say that running is 80% mental. To cross that finish line, you must set your mind to it. Visualize it and make it happen.

These days, i like to look really cool when i run. I try to wear matching shorts and tops but sometimes my socks just go the other way. Its fun though.

The best part, i think is the caring and sharing and camaraderie that is my running community. There really is nothing like it in any other sport. It's comforting to realize that if one day i miss a run, i have people who are genuinely concerned about my welfare. Where are you Michelle? You OK? And the same goes for me. If i haven't seen one of my posse in a day or two i get concerned. I make a phone call. Hey dude whats up? Why haven't i seen you out there??

One thing i have realized, is that you either love to run or you hate it. I don't think there is any inbetween. Sometimes, you have to get past the hurting part of running to get to the euphoric part. The part where you feel a state of very intense happiness and feelings of well-being. A runner's high if you will. Better than any drug out there. If your feeling down, go for a run, i promise you will come back so happy and so physically satisfied, your body will beg for more.

You never even have to run a marathon. You can literally run 1 mile a day and call yourself a runner.

A Prayer of Trust

Protect me, God
I come to you for safety.
You are my Lord,
All good things I have come from You.

How good are the Lord’s faithful people!
My greatest joy is to be with them.

You, Lord are all I have,
And You give me all I need.
My life is in Your hands.
How wonderful are Your gifts to me,
How good they are!

I praise You Lord because You guide me,
I know You are always with me.
Nothing can make me afraid
Because You are near.

Show me the path that leads to life
Your presence fills me with joy.

Dude, you fill the space between the spaces for me. You make me whole. Thank you for allowing me the gift of running!!! I love you Lord.
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