running

(some)BODY

When I think of my body, the best I can do is not think aesthetically but functionally. If I keep myself concerned with the things my body can do, I never have to worry if it is pretty or beautiful or good. The problem with this is that there are some things my body cannot do. There have been many things people have said about bodies like mine. There are so many more things I have said about my own body.

Running is one of those things that I don’t expect my body to do. All, I can focus on is excess flesh just moving and how grotesque a sight that is for onlookers. Gravity becoming the immortal enemy of my physicality. If I am still enough, then I can maneuver around slowly enough for things to stay in place. It is all one big optical illusion of Spanx and slimwear and clothing in a size too big. It is weird to see the thoughts, I have displayed on a screen, but this is the reality where I reside.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, I had a case of insomnia. It wasn’t even that my mind was running. I literally just could not sleep. At 3:30am, I decided to go to the gym. Most times, I just walk on a treadmill, but in delirium, I decided to run. I ran for 5 minutes straight. I remained on the treadmill for 35 minutes and upon completion, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. I hoped this would tire me out, but it only invigorated me. I did squats got in my car and departed, for a 4am drive through the city. By the time I arrived at work, I was tired enough to hide behind my desk for a 20-minute nap…..but I didn’t.

Today, I took a half day. I went to the gym and consciously decided, I was going to run. I began running for 7 minutes. At the end of 32 minutes, I had run/walked a little over 2 miles. 16-minute miles are nothing to brag about. In comparison to even the average runner (maybe walker), I am slow. BUT my body ran. It ran and it felt wonderful and it hurt. It is unfamiliar and fascinating.

I don’t really have goals or expectations for my body. I have worked towards a lifestyle that serves my body best. I have made some progress. I am hoping I can remain consistent. Today was just a day, where I just finished running, breathless and sweaty and smiled.

“Damn, I got some body.”

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People Over Things; God Over All

I drive home after purchasing running shorts from Old Navy. These shorts are a reward. I have been running for five weeks, three times a week. On Friday and Saturday, I saw roots from my labor. My average mile dropped significantly from the first time. My body adjusted. A desire to run was being birthed. I commemorated all of this with a pair of grey and pink running shorts, with a pocket.

I waited for the light to change. Like a movie, I predicted what was going to happen next. Seconds later it did. Two vehicles collided. I drove up. Parked my car.

“Ma’am, what emergency services do you require: police, fire, or medical?” 

“Police and medical”, my voice shaking, as I hold myself together.

Standing beside my car, I could see the driver’s blood and hair on the passenger’s window. The impact had flung him from his seat to the other side of the vehicle. I could see the windshield out of its frame. I could see the oil and coolant and antifreeze pouring from the car. I could see a female bystander applying pressure to the head of this man. I could see those napkins becoming soaked with blood as red and fresh as a bing cherry. As, I hung up the phone, I walked towards the scene.

“Ma’am, do you need some clean cloth?”

I walk back to the scene from my car with my shorts in hand, I pull the tag off.

“I know it’s weird, but these shorts are clean and sweat absorbent. They can help” 

My personal reward became cloth. As it always was. As it was always supposed to be. This man, bloodied and shocked, apologizes to me.

“I’m so sorry about your shorts. I will wash them and return them to you.”

“No. No. That [my shorts] is a thing. You are a person. You win.”

The title, of this post, comes from a mantra I have repeated for almost a year: “People over things; God over all”. As, that man apologized (and later his wife), I recognized my mantra is not shared with everyone.

Those shorts were probably created in a sweatshop with an exploited labor force. Their true value is $1.50. I purchased them for $15 and used a gift card. This man was spoken out by God. Birthed into a home with a mother and a father. He has a wife. He probably has a job. He is loved. He is desired. He is wanted. His value is incalculable. My shorts are not even worthy to be compared to his life. They are rubbish.

It’s not that I am against things. I love things. I love the flare of a dress as I twirl. I love long drives to unknown destinations. I love a good happy hour. However, I hope to never love these things more than people, whether they be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family. And, if ever I do, I pray in God’s love for me, He would strip me off them until I remember it is all about Him and all about people.

 

My Body

I identify with my mind, more than my body. My body is never who I imagine it to be. When, I close my eyes, I see myself as this strong and feminine woman. My hair has naturally wavy curls. I’m a size 10. I have lean legs and the ratio between my bust and bottom are similar, with the midsection being smaller than what it is. I open my eyes. My hair is in disarray especially today, when even the strongest of headbands, cannot tame this disastrous mane. I am a size 18. I have horse calves and the ratio between my bottom, bust, and waist are pretty much the same. None of that matters today though.

Today, I ran a mile. Did you hear me? I RAN a mile. Never in my adult life have a run a mile.

God knowing my exhaustion was gracious enough to allow class to be cancelled. Giving me a 3 hour reprieve from the chaos of work and school. I immediately knew, the gym was going to be my venture. I have come to love cardio. I like mindlessly getting on a machine and reading or watching television or zoning out. It is easiest for me to be silent when my body is occupied. While, on the elliptical, I read through 1 Kings into 2 Kings, and paused to reflect and pray. 35 minutes quickly ended. I cleaned my machine and began to leave, when clearly I left the inclination to run a mile.

I believe this was the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I hate running. Yesterday, I said Amen, when someone else said they hated running at church. I hate everything about it. I love dancing and skipping and walking, but running can just die. I mean, I loathe it. So, I knew it wasn’t me telling me to run. However, I was obedient. I walked onto the treadmill and began to run. It was amazing, until I reach .2 miles. I slowed my pace, and then increased again. My chest burned. I slowed then increased. .95 miles remaining. I amped it up to 6 mph hour and just ran. Then, it was over. In 15 minutes, I had run a mile.

Today, I appreciate my delicate body, not so much for what it is, but more so for what it does for me.

Run

Ends are just as important as beginnings. The manner in which we finish a race is rarely determined by how we start. It is about the miles in between. Because the initial sound of the commencement shot and the tearing of the white winner’s tape is what we live for. However, this miles between the start and the finish are our lives, and so often we are all too focused on meeting checkpoints (college, dating, marriage, kids, career) as opposed to house the checkpoints alter the terrain. I am running a race that many have finished. I am running a race that many have dropped out of and stopped running. A race filled with deterrents and distractions. A race, pushing the runner to adventure and pain. A race that is run with many companions, but sometimes run alone. Yes, we are all in a race. I have reached a mere checkpoint. I am another year older, and as I continue running, I think it a brilliant time to reflect on the checkpoints, terrain, obstacles, and companions along the way.

Today, I do it before the Throne of Grace of my Father. Some day soon, I will do it online.

Happy Birthday to Me.