For the last almost four years I've used running as my path to sanity. All those endorphins working out all the stress of two children under 13 months. And two children under two. And under three....
I go out with shoulders up to my ears, jaws clenching, and one million thoughts circling-not sure if there is room for any of them to land. Push push push through the first mile and then my legs are like robot legs. They just keep moving. And all those thoughts suddenly have found a way out of my head. The running jogs them from their spot and slowly sifts them down through my body and out my heels where I leave them on the sidewalk. Until only the important thoughts are left. Breathe, run, think. Then stop thinking. The thoughts, even the important ones have been sifted out and it's just me. Moving. Breathing. I feel rested in those moments. The moments where the thoughts have cleared out.
It's my favorite.
BUT. I live in Wyoming. Where the winter is snowy. And while not much colder than other places, still cold. And I just decided this winter I was not even going to pretend that I was going to run in the snow. I just...no. Not doing it. I'm not that hardcore runner. And I don't really want to be.
The winter was fine. I skied and sledded and swam and practiced yoga and watched for the return of running weather. And found a race I was super into running. A half in the Red Desert of WYO. 'It would be beautiful!' I thought. I was getting excited and scheduling out my training plan and then we bought a fixer upper. And I knew I needed to put my running practice off for another couple of months. And now. Now we are here in this space. And things are settling, however slowly, and I'm ready to lace up my shoes again.
But here's the thing. Today I carried 50? 75? 10-30lbs rocks 20? 30? yards and arranged them in a circle for an inaugural bonfire at fox valley tonight. Then I shoveled gravel out of a flower bed so we can plant flowers instead of rocks. And then I moved our wood pile. And then we biked up the road and back down a lot of times. And then we walked up the road to our mailbox...
...and after all that I felt pretty sane. Not quite the same, but it seems that living at fox valley is going to be exercise enough.
(But I'll still go for the first run of the season tomorrow)