It’s late and I should be turning out the light and drifting off but I’m wide awake. Isn’t that always the way? I’ve had a night worth staying awake and thinking about.
Tonight was my first running clinic. I went into this really just hoping I would make it through my first run and both not face plant and also not stop before the end. Those were my goals. Don’t quit and don’t fall. Seems simple enough.
To kick things off we headed down to the basement for a chat in the little classroom. About 20 women of varying sizes, shapes and ages sat on benches lining the open concrete room and waited for words of wisdom and insight that might get us started on our journey. Our fearless leader began by having us introduce ourselves and talk about why we’d decided to come.
I freaked. I’m having this issue with talking about myself to large groups that has continuously paralyzed me as of late. I didn’t consider the possibility that it would come up here. I could feel my heart beat quicken, my breathing labor and it became harder to swallow. That old familiar feeling. I tried to zero in on the story of the girl beside me. She’d been a professional athlete and was forced to quit because of an illness that required surgery. That was 6 months ago. She’s using the class as a way to get back on her feet.
My pulse quickened further until I thought my head would explode with the pounding in my ears. Then it was my turn. “Uh hi..” I said shakily “Uh I decided to come because..” Big Gulp “I go to the gym and I’m afraid one of these days I’m going to go flying right off the back of the treadmill if I don’t learn to run properly so I’ve come here.” I looked at the teacher wishing I hadn’t just said that. Her face was a mixture of..confusion?…concern? I turned to the woman beside me. “Your turn!” I exclaimed, and wished the floor would swallow me whole. We hadn’t even made it to the running yet and I’d already started to feel like I was metaphorically falling on my face. Flop.
I turned my attention to the stories pouring out from the amazing women sitting all around me, as I worked to steady my heart rate and calm my breathing. One woman had lost a bet, another had been a competitive soccer player who’d “let life take over instead”. Then, the woman at the back of the room started. She was second to last. She looked around first then began slowly in a small voice. “My story is a bit of a sad one” she said. The silence was astounding. “I lost my daughter about a month ago now and I want to learn to run so I can run in her honour. She loved to run”. At this point the woman broke into tears, covering her face with a hand towel. The woman beside her was crying too. I looked around the room to see that every one of us had stopped thinking, doing, moving, and we were all just there together feeling completely for this person we’d met five minutes ago. A woman at the front started clapping and we all applauded. When we stopped it was the last woman’s turn. She had tears in her eyes as she said, “I’m her best friend and I’m doing it with her”.
I know that I posted about finding play again and not taking life so seriously and I am definitely in a quest to do that but I also feel like I’m digging for other treasure. These little moments that keep coming up and smacking me in the face. These little moments that keep reminding me what it’s all really about. Little bits of gold.
I did the run and it felt amazing. It was hard but all 20 of us did it together.
I was truly on a high when I left. I am thoroughly looking forward to Wednesday when we get to do it all again even though my legs are sore and shaky and I walk like Bambi. I was smiling as I walked along after the class ended thinking about how much I’d surprised myself. I rounded the corner to my car and there on the windshield was a parking ticket. Ah yes- life.