Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rest


Yesterday, for the first time this year, I did not fit in a run. Instead, I went to work, played basketball for a bit with the high school students I teach, drove home, packed the car, and drove the family to visit my mother-in-law for the weekend. Arriving here, I decided not to squeeze in a run. It wasn't an easy decision.

I blew a twelve-day running streak and my then-current average off five miles of running each day. And I admit that I worried that I was ruining more than that. I have been running a lot since the first of the year and my body feels better for having done it. The scale hasn't had enormously good things to say, but my body has. I feel fitter, more able, stronger, and so on. It's a good thing. Part of what has been getting me feeling this good is that I have run so much and part of running so much has been the streak.

There was one day last week that I just did not have any interest in running. It was late, there was too much to do, and I was tired. The thing that got me out the door was the streak. I wasn't ready to blow it yet. And, having blown it yesterday, I thought that maybe I was in real trouble.

I'm probably not.

This morning, my wife asked if we were going to run. Any chance I get to run with her is good and we don't get those chances enough, so I got right into running gear and we went out for a couple miles. She's just starting out with running, so after two miles she was ready to call it a day. I dropped her off at her mother's house and went on my way. I put in six extra miles.

I may have lost the streak and dipped just below five-mile-per-day pace, but I felt phenomenal out there. Rest, it turns out, is a good thing. I can rest and still keep moving. What a crazy contradiction.

A little while ago, while everyone downstairs was talking, I felt tired. I was tired from the run, from not sleeping well, and from so many voices talking. I wanted some peace. I came up, put Brad Mehldau on the computer and lay down for some rest.

My dog visited me. She is suspicious of nappers.

My daughters visited me on their way out to play.

The music played on.

And then, after they had been outside for a bit, my daughters came back to tell me of their adventures. My oldest then went downstairs to be in the middle of all the conversations. My youngest cuddled with me on the couch to read her book. I lay there with my arm wrapped around her, my head on her tiny shoulder, and I slept lightly while she read _Judy Moody_. That was thirty minutes ago.

I got up a few moments ago and thanked her for being my stuffed animal. She let me up from the couch, scooched herself over on the couch, pulled the blanket back around herself and kept going with her book. I got up to write this.

I'm rested now. I'm ready. For years I have been tired and stuck and thinking of myself as a victim or as someone bound by rules. I can't leave my job because my family needs the money and the health insurance. That's how I used to think. But more than that, I thought it meant that I couldn't follow a dream. Being rested shows me the possibilities of what can be done. Things appear and become clear that were muddled and lost when I was tired and running through life just to keep running.

Maybe I'm stretching things a bit here, but I feel rested in almost every way. I feel refreshed and alive. I feel ready. And I feel hungry. (It's a metaphoric hunger for more happiness and a real-life hunger for a burrito all at the same time.) It could be that I'm writing so much and running much more, but everything seems so possible to me these days. I'm not a victim or a prisoner. The door is open. I can go for a run without having to run away from home. I can take a day off and still be a runner. I can lie still on the couch and have the world to wrap my arms around. Anything is possible.

Write on.