D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Average

Hey! A post about running! I know it is everyone's favorite, right? Here is the deal: Yesterday, I ran 9.3 miles. Much of it uphill (for the Portlanders, I ran up to OHSU and back! No joke). In the freezing cold. In the rain.

It is like the opposite of what I normally do. I love me some comfort: reading books on a couch with a cozy blanket, drinking a french press while listening to french music, dreamily pinning crafts I will never actually tackle on my computer. I am about as non-competitive as a person can get. I have never been athletic. I have never even liked being outdoors all that much.

Enter the last year. A year where being a wife/mom/teacher/writer/sister/daughter/friend seemed to have me floundering for my own time. Running was the only way to get 30-40 minutes alone with my own thoughts (and God, too). I ran out of anger, frustration, disappointment, tiredness, and stress. And it totally worked.

That is the only reason I can come up with for how I found myself exercising consistently for the first time since I was 12. I needed it. I have been running outside now for a year. I went from jogging for 2-3 minutes to running for and hour and a half.

This 15k was a birthday present to myself. As me and my friend J started the long run up to OHSU somewhere in mile 4, I started listening to Vesuvius by Sufjan (warning: cheesy moment alert). And I felt like this was a literal mountain/volcano that I needed to conquer. Everything all those athletic people had been spouting for all those years was finally making sense. Work hard, believe in yourselves, don't give up. I needed to conquer my mountain.

And I did. I was thrilled to find my time was a minute behind the average finish. I am average! I had never before felt so happy to hear those words. And I probably won't be happy to hear them in any context besides physical strength.

The race itself was no cakewalk, and I would not describe it as fun (although, I have been rather poor at training). There were 30,000 people there, which I did not understand until we were packed like cattle into the starting gate and almost had a panic attack. Have you ever run with thousands of people? It is super weird. I couldn't have stopped even if I wanted to. Also, it was freezing cold (they forecasted snow) and started raining several miles into it. By the end, I was soaking wet from the rain. It took me an hour to realize just how bone-deep cold I was, mostly because my friends pointed out my lips were blue. And they stayed that way until I took a nice, long bath.

It was a good start to my 28th year. A good reminder to challenge myself, to push myself, and then to allow the satisfaction of completion. Running is so tangible. And sometimes, that is just what you need.

Powered by Squarespace. Background image by Kmayfield