Sometime last winter I started having dreams of running. Which is weird, right, because the only running I’ve done since mandatory gym class in high school has been to catch the bus. But I started having these dreams of running through a mossy old growth forest, running like a deer, running swiftly through dappled green light, sinuous and strong and joyous and free.

I had the dream maybe a half dozen times, waking bemused every time — whose dream am I having, anyway? I’ve never been drawn to athletics, or even that keen on anything physical. The physical things I enjoy are: eating, singing, baths, sleeping… things I’d classify more as sense pleasures than physical activities, ha. 

So it took me some time to warm to the idea of running. But the dream was so peristent I started to feel like my body (Brain? Heart? Subconscious?) was trying to tell me something, and that I should listen. So I bought some running shoes.

And now, I’m a runner! Haha! 

By which I mean, I go for runs occasionally. I think it’s maybe been five times so far, about 30 minutes each time. My “rules” are that I run for only as long as I can do so without clenching my jaw, as I can keep arms and hands relaxed, my breathing smooth, and nothing hurts. Honestly, that’s not too long. When I notice one of those things beginning to happen, I slow to a walk until I feel like running again, and walk again when it starts to feel like punishment. I stretch a bit. A couple of times I’ve finished up with an all out, heart-pounding sprint, and that’s fun — to throw away moderation and just run like a wild maniac for no reason. 

My favourite part of running is practicing a non judgmental binary mind about it: simply, did I do it? Yes/No. No evaluation of how far, how fast, or how long, or in other words how good. I tend to feel with most things that there is a right and proper way to do it, and anything less than that is fucking it up (which really means I am a fuck up). A lot of the inertia I mentioned last post that prevents me from doing more creative things again is rooted here – feeling like perfection/success is the only acceptable outcome (can’t fail if I don’t try, right?). So not getting into a whole lot of self scrutiny about this running thing is pretty refreshing. 

Today I ran through Dundurn park, the morning sun shone low and gold through the remaining maple leaves, the sky was crisp cold blue, my hands got too hot. I felt my feet pounding the mud and did not feel at all like a deer. 

But I did run, and I didn’t feel like a sack of shit when I cut it short to go home and work in my garden instead, either.

Baby steps.

3 Responses

  1. You girl, woman, mother still manage to amaze me… From the first time I held you in my arms, a few minutes old…and the Doc said “You are a lucky guy”, I am truly awed at your wonderfulness, awesomeness and loveliness. Your writing capturesg wonderfully the essence of what it is to be Anna, different, more awesome and amazing than anyone else … except perhaps your mother. Stay true to yourself Anna and know that the world (especially Mom and I) loves you.


  2. Great to see you blogging again, Anna. And to hear about your running experience. Wild that you had all those dreams. This post resonated with me because, as you know, I have been doing Tai Chi for the past month – and have a similar feeling about that exercise. Half the time I flail about on the wrong foot, but delightfully no one seems to notice or care – and sometimes, just sometimes I find myself in beautiful sync with all these other silent people of every size, shape and age, doing weird wavy arm stretchy leg things and it feels terrific. No idea why but it keeps me coming back – and part of it is the no-judgment attitude of everyone involved. I don’t think anyone even watches anyone else (except for me, I have to watch to follow!) Enjoy the running days while you can.

    And of course I echo everything your dad said.


  3. You manage to make running sound actually attractive……enticing, even 😉

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