Running has meant different things to me during our romance. At first, fitness. Losing weight has never been easier than when I’m running 3 -4 times per week. Don’t quote me as an expert but for me? If I’m running, I can pretty much eat anything within reason and I’ll still lose. But then, more than fitness, running has supplied me with mental stability. Especially now. I don’t get to run 3-4 times per week right now. I’m lucky if I get one run in per week. I understand that doing this doesn’t really qualify as regular exercise but that’s not why I go. I get out the door, put on my music, and feel the definition of high. Even before the endorphins kick in, with step one. I know that the next hour is mine alone, with nobody at all getting anything from me, except me. That feels really. really. really. amazing.
I have a course I run – it’s 7.77 miles. Lucky seven. I go through seven neighborhoods (Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Chinatown, Manhattan’s Financial District, and Downtown Brooklyn) two bridges (Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge), and pass countless tourists, natives and weirdos. I see beauty and horrifying ugliness. I smell fresh air and rotten trash. The iconic architecture I get to take in, all of NYC’s superstar buildings and parks are mine for the passing. And I think.
There was a baby boy I had and I lost. His name was Soren. During my everyday life, I pretty much push the thoughts of him away, and wrongfully think that if I feel sad about him, I’m doing a disservice to Sheppard and Smith. See, they wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t lost Soren. So even though I cognitively know there’s room to feel sad about loss and celebrate life all at the same time, I still push it aside, and try to give what I have my front and center.
But somehow, when I run, there is a place where I feel I meet up with Soren, and give him all of my focus. Beginning with the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge, running the expanse of it over the river and onto the Bowery. That is where we meet. And it isn’t sad. I think of how much hope I had for him, how much love I felt for him, how he kicked and how his big brother Roan would bounce his hand on my tummy trying to touch him. I visit the decisions we made and try to give a little extra love to myself for having to be there. I wonder if Soren would have been more like Sheppard or Smith. I wonder if he was more Anson or me. I say hello and goodbye to him and leave him there on the gorgeous Manhattan Bridge, waiting for me to get back there in a week.
The Brooklyn Bridge is where I try to clock in a few trivial karma points. Every time I cross it, I offer to take a person or group’s photo. You know who – those guys who are holding the camera at arms length, trying to get themselves, the bridge, their companion all artfully composed in a frame they cannot see. I stop, offer to take the picture, snap it, and get on my way. I have to wonder how many pictures I’ve taken of people from all over the world. Usually they don’t speak English. There is much to be said for my awesome body language.
And when all is said and done, the huge rush I get when I walk back through the door, with all of my boys smelling of syrup and pancakes, with shiny faces still in their PJ’s is reason enough for me to leave and come back. When I’m floundering with my first cup of coffee, wondering if I should go for a run or stay on the couch, I remind myself that I have never ever ever regretted going. I have never gone for a run and thought, “Gee. Wish I would have stayed on the couch.” How about you? What speaks to you this way? Or are you still looking for it?