My mind works in mysterious ways. I can jump between subjects in a conversation faster than my listener can keep up. In my head, I have gone from one thing to another, and it makes perfect sense. To the average listener (or my husband), I am sure what comes out of my mouth seems completely random. That’s how my mind was working last night.
The two ladies pictured with me are my very best friends, Jackie and Kassi. We grew up three houses from one another (Jack and Kass are sisters), and have been through all the ups and downs of life together the past 35 years. Wow. 35 years. That’s a long time to maintain a friendship – how very blessed we are!
When I began this running journey, Jackie decided to join me. Together we pushed beyond what we thought were our limits. Together we crossed the finish line of our first half marathon holding hands. Once we began building mileage, and our love affair with running began to be noticed by others, Kassi took up running. She quickly built her endurance and speed, and the threesome was begun. Where we used to run the streets of Tell City as obnoxious teens, we were now running as fit and not-so-obnoxious moms. Our favorite and most sacred run was our Wednesday Night Religion Run. Kassi’s and Jackie’s kids had religion every Wednesday night, so they had a free hour to run. We met at St. Paul Church, and managed four to six miles. We have run in bitter cold and sleet; we have run in rain; we have run in blistering heat. There wasn’t much we let get in the way of our ritual run. When I was asked to join the church choir, and I said I couldn’t because I run on Wednesday nights when they practice, I was asked why I couldn’t just run another night. Sorry, Wednesday Night Religion Run is a priority, and God understands because the word ‘religion’ is in the name of that particular run.
Because of my knee issues and eventual surgery, I had not been able to run on Wednesdays since late March or early April. I desperately missed my friends. On those runs we have laughed at our own stupid jokes (we get each other’s humor), and we have cried because of some trial one of us was facing. We have almost gotten hit by cars, and we have cheered for ourselves at the end of a great run. We have walked when one of us is tired or hurting, and we have sprinted when Jackie commands us to finish strong. We talk about our kids, our loves, our jobs, our poop, our snot, and other not-to-be-blogged-about topics. Do you understand why I would miss these runs? Why I did not want to give them up? But I had to heal. I couldn’t keep up.
I began running again about three weeks ago. I started out running a slow mile. The next week I ran two and then three miles. Last week I ran four miles, and finally on Sunday I ran five miles. After thinking I was going to be starting from scratch, being able to run five miles was an absolute thrill. Tuesday I took off for a run after school, and it was my first pain-free run in nearly a year. I could feel the runner in me emerging, and she was ready! I texted Jackie and Kassi, and told them I was ready for Wednesday. On Wednesday, October 23, I ran the Wednesday Night Religion Run with my friends. It felt amazing, and by that I don’t so much mean the run; I mean just being with my friends and talking and laughing. I know I am not completely healed, and will have to be careful to not push too hard, but I now have hope that my running life will resume, and I will once again be running the streets of our fair town with my friends.
Here’s where the random thoughts run amok….I was driving home from my run, all giddy and emotional, and I thought about Kass and Jack. I thought about how we get to reminisce about our childhood. We played outside all through junior high and high school. We played hide and seek in our neighborhood until we graduated, and we rode bikes, and did a few things we shouldn’t have done (that’s on the not-to-be-blogged-about list). In the summer we sat in Kassi’s and Jackie’s backyard with Sun-In in our hair (or lemon juice), playing Scrabble. On snow days we played Monopoly and watched movies or found a vacant hill upon which to sled. Jackie taught Kassi and me how to drive (I was apparently a better student because Kassi was always running into something). Kassi and I ate popcorn and watched the Love Boat on Saturday nights. We got all of the neighborhood kids together and played truth or dare, or we just sat outside and threw rocks at the bats by the street lights (which doesn’t seem very smart now). Thinking about all of this on my drive home, led me to wonder what today’s kids will store in their memories. How many teens do you see ‘playing’ outside? They are so wrapped up in video games and computers that I wonder what memories they will share with their friends? I find that sad. We had such a fun neighborhood, and most of us are still friends today. That’s where my thoughts stopped – just wondering about kids today. I hope they are making worthwhile memories and taking advantage of their young, healthy bodies. I hope their only memories aren’t of avatars and shooting and stealing cars on some stupid video game. I hope they can sit down and have an actual conversation with their friends and not purely rely on text messages.
And you? You’re not too old to continue making wonderful memories with your friends and family. Get out and do something with them. Go for a hike and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. Play kickball or shoot hoops. Step away from the TV and computer and really live. You only have one shot at life; make it memorable!
Peace and Love…