On Running: Embarking on a Journey

On Running
Embarking on a Journey

The lake was as smooth as a sheet of glass, except for a few ripples out near the middle, fish playing near the surface. A turtle poked his head out of the water, then ducked back under as we ran past.
We were running easy and relaxed, soothed by the surroundings. The night before, we had planned on getting up early and we were glad we did. It was a beautiful morning. And, best of all, I was running with my daughter again.
We had both taken a long break from running, each of us for different reasons. My reason was simple; chronic injuries made me understand that my only ally was rest.
Her reason was more complex; running itself had become complicated. After breaking into high school distance running with huge success, it had later been difficult for her to live up to her own expectations. The harder she tried, the harder it seemed. Disappointment mounted and the pleasure was gone.
It was a challenging time for both of us, but we had each come to our own, similar conclusion; to hold on to something we loved, we had to let it go for a while.
There was some irony in knowing that we had both left, and then come back to running at the same times. I hadn't even thought about that, until she mentioned it one day. And, suddenly, we were partners embarking on a journey to discover just what running would mean as we brought it back into our lives.
We turned away from the lake and ran up to a gravel road that stayed near the water. Our run had found a rhythm, and the motion relaxed us. Tall trees gave us shade and created a tunnel as we passed through.
She talked about recent experiences, her plans and her dreams, and I remembered how running together had always given me the chance to glance into her life. I listened.
The run was over too soon, and afterwards we stretched together and talked just a little more. As I watched her, I found myself already looking forward to the next time she would join me for a run.
Yet, in some larger sense, I'm always running beside her, even while we're apart. I know every parent will understand when I say that my emotions are forever linked with hers. Sometimes, it feels like my heart beats in her chest. So, as she begins a new running journey, I find myself making one simple wish - let it bring her joy.
I know she has the same hope for me, and as we both run through the good days and the bad, we'll rely on each other for support and inspiration. She'll ask me lots of questions and sometimes I'll be helpful.
And, as often as we can, we'll meet and run. We'll talk a bit about our challenges and successes, but none of that will matter very much, as together we find a rhythm and enjoy time with the best running buddy either one of us has ever had.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at dpgflyingfeet@aol.com