Running in a Circle

27 Mar

I’m still here! I’m still alive!

I still have to get used to this blogging thing; there are two things that are keeping me from posting every day. The first is that (surprise, surprise) I have a hard time deciding what to post about. Because I don’t have theme, I could write about anything, but I want to keep this blog from becoming too much like a diary. The other thing is that I’m a perfectionist, so every time I get the inkling to write, I convince myself I don’t have anything interesting or lengthy enough to say.Today I just have to work on defeating my inner critic and get something going.

My husband, Brian, is a cross country and track coach. He ran competitively in high school and in college. He’s fast. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is something that we have in common.

Brian running for Butler

When Brian and i started dating I liked to repeat a line from a cheesy teen sci-fi/suspense movie “The Faculty”: “I only run if I’m being chased.” Good one, right? Well, since I’d made it through most of my life without being chased by anyone other than my sisters around the dining room table in a tickle fight, I hadn’t run at all. Except maybe in gym class, when we were required to run a mile, and even then I’m sure I walked most of it. So when Brian and I were in grad school he finally convinced me to start running. The first day I couldn’t run for more than about 30 seconds at a go.

Since then I’ve come a long way! Today I ran 8 miles at our local park. And I think I could have gone longer. To some people, like most of my family, this probably sounds pretty incredible. But, don’t be too fooled. I’m not fast and I don’t run every day. I’m really a seasonal runner; every year start a new running push in the spring. We live in Indiana, so I think our winters are too cold and snowy to run in. But by the time spring comes around I’m itching to be outside and my waistline is telling me it’s time to get running again.I get going and keep it up for a while, but eventually it gets hot outside, I get bored and lonely on my runs, and worst of all, I get discouraged that I’m simply NOT FAST. That’s the toughest part about being married to a runner, for me at least. No matter how many personal goals and records I achieve, nothing feels all that impressive. I’m also insanely jealous that he has a whole mob of people to run with every day.

This year I want it to be different. Because of a thyroid problem I struggled with the last two years, I found myself weighing in at 20 lbs. more than what I’d weighed when Brian married me. I bought my first pair of jeans in a size 8 and that was a reality check. So this year, I’m gonna run. Maybe not every day, but more often than before. So, this year I decided that I needed a running partner to keep me in check. Luckily, I live with not just one runner, but three.

These are my dogs, Finnegan and Truman. For the last two weeks, I’ve taken them running with me and I have to say it is much better than running alone. They give me something else to think about besides how tired my legs are or how close I am to getting a stitch in my side. I have also started to judge my pace based on Truman’s gait; if he’s just trotting along I’m likely going at a slow 10+min/mile pace, but if he’s got a little gallop in his step then I’m at least running around 9 min/mile. I have to keep these guys on a leash (Truman is part beagle and is known to run away), which is a little annoying because they pull for most of the run (after 6 miles Truman starts to get tired, but it seems like Finnegan NEVER gets tired) and they really tug when they see a squirrel. So far we’ve done pretty well as a team. They keep me going, even if at homeTruman and Finnegan usually look something like this:

Today was an especially nice run, even though it was only 34° outside!  Because it was so cold and windy I felt like I was breathing easier and was able to go a little further. It was also really quiet at the park at 9:00 this morning. My favorite part of our loop is where the trail follows along the edge of the woods and I can hear the empty trees creaking against each other. It might sound creepy, but I think it’s really peaceful.

So I’ll end with part of a poem that I wrote in grad school that was inspired by exactly that sound:

The trees creak, bending
against each other,
a child leaning her weight
back and forth
on a loose floorboard,
her bobbed hair swinging
against her chin,
like some other bell
with a heart that dangles
and tolls.


Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Dogs, Poetry, Running



2 responses to “Running in a Circle

  1. mgutowsk

    March 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Sorry to everyone whose comments got deleted. Something funky happened with the formatting of the blog, so I had to redo this post.

  2. Casey

    April 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    First of all, that picture of Brian needs to be on the side of a skyscraper somewhere in Indianapolis.

    But second, I can’t believe you ran 8 miles. I’m renewing my energy because of you and Brian this month. I had been settling. I will run 5-miles at once by July 1st. (I’m currently in that place where I’m good for about 2-minutes)…



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