On Running

Old friends, new friends

I have a confession, you guys, and that is that running is really hard right now.

Most of what I’ve had to say about running over the last few years has been beyond enthusiastic. Over the last five years, running has helped me lose weight, get in shape, and make friends. I have run in the snow, in the pouring rain, in the 90 degree heat, in single digits, and into winds from every direction. I have run with my arm in an enormous cast, with a debilitating cough, with a painful stitch in my side, with my heart breaking. Running has challenged me emotionally and physically, and in doing so, sustained and improved my mental health far beyond anything that drugs have ever done.

And for the last three months, it has just felt hard. Hard to get started. Hard to face distances that should be a piece of cake given how I trained for most of last year. Hard to breathe. Hard on my knees. Hard to stay focused.

I know some of this is just the lingering malaise of winter in the Midwest. This year has been much colder than last year. I’ve had trouble shaking what my friend Karina calls her “fat squirrel” period, wherein the only things that seem appealing are the couch, snacks, and a pile of blankets. I’ve been sick, and then out of town, and then cleansing, and then out of town, and then sick again.

But I’m sticking with it, and holding on to the hope that as the days get longer and the temperatures warmer and the sidewalks clearer, I’ll find what I need to fall in love with running again.

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The Bahamas

A prelude from the Lakefront on a cold Wednesday in February. I had errands to run, and good company, so I played hooky, signed a new lease, and walked by the lake in the falling snow.

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24 hours later:

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Ocean!

Sunset, Day 1

On Friday, we borrowed bikes from the resort and rode all over the central island

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– from the resort to Port Lucaya

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Miami Vice

then to the International Bazaar

International Bazaar

Payphones

then to downtown Freeport, where we visited the post office and the only vegetarian-focused store on the island, then back to our resort, 20 miles in total.

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This was my first time traveling with Karen – my first time traveling with anyone except a partner since the road trips to Bonnaroo – and it worked splendidly. We complained in equal measure, shared a mutual disinterest in being social with other resort guests, and savored naps and free girlie cocktails. We avoided the resort staff like the plague, called in a noise complaint at midnight, and were unduly interested in Cool Dad’s mealtime choices. On our last day, we didn’t do a damned thing.

Doin' it right

Braids!

And it was perfect.

Beach. Sunset.

Happy