Manhattan views from Pier 6. Where my run begins.

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.

Approaching the two bridges.

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.

Jane's Carousel in Dumbo, I'm almost to the Manhattan Bridge

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.

Approaching the Manhattan Bridge. I love that thing.

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.

On the Manhattan Bridge. Looking up from the center.

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.

Graffiti on the Manhattan Bridge. "You Go Girl". Awesome.

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?


17 thoughts on “Run.

  1. jodi!

    this is beautiful and amazing.

    this may be my favorite one yet for about fourteen different reasons.

    thank you for sharing your lovely ritual and your lovely gift with me this morning.

    i understand.

  2. More than once yesterday, i thought- why the hell am i doing this? And i’m still not convinced my body creates the mythical endorphins… Why then? For reasons very similar to yours. Thanks for a lovely post Mama-san!

  3. I started running to get stronger, physically. Now, I run because though it’s been about 6 years since I started running regularly and I haven’t run a marathon in about 3year, I feel about 11 years old when I’m on a dirty, dusty, hilly trail, I feel like I can do anything and the light is beautiful and all the things in the world that bother me slip away and I remember how lucky I am to be able to have these moments. Thanks for this lovely post. (Sheri’s Friend)

  4. Jodi, this is so beautiful, you’ve both made me cry and inspired me. we all need moms/friends/peers in our life to inspire us, keep us moving. I try also to run 3 times a week, some weeks are eternal and it doesn’t happen, but it’s always there for me. thanks also for speaking the truth, something I wish we were all better at. I’m off for a 4:30 run, thanks babe.

  5. Riding a stationary bike. It’s recumbent, so I can read (cheesy romance novels, I’m looking for the one where the not-so-attractive girl gets the boy.) It’s in a corner, so my fur-child can’t get to me, but he’s in the room. For those 30-45 minutes, it’s about me and sweat. And I love it.
    And Jodi! YOU GO GIRL!!

  6. I loved this. A lot.
    I started running to run away from things. My stress, my old me, my sad home. I ran away from those things for a long time. Then one day it changed. I was running towards something. I couldn’t figure out what, but as the runs got longer, I realized there was something at the end of the run better than the sweat soaked clothes and the release of all the stress. It was the person that running had made me. Not the skinny person, or the healthy person, but the calm person. The level headed person. The optimistic one. That person has gotten me through a lot. And that person needs new shoes.

  7. I’m so glad you shared Soren’s name with us. I think about that kid sometimes.

    I run also – I’ve gotten back up to 3-4 times a week now, but it took a long while after my latest baby was born. Same – it’s for me, and so little that I do actually is just for me. Blogs, too, I guess.

  8. Wow – my situation is not the same but it’s my situation, that like yours, seems bearable when I run. There is a perspective that comes to me out there. No beautiful bridges for me to see – usually just trees, fields, horses and sometimes cows. The darkness of winter has changed now and I’ve been out a few times. I’m looking forward to 3-4 times a weeks instead of the once a month lately. I don’t even say I ‘like’ running but there are only a few other things that soothe my soul like it does.

    If I ever make it to New York one day I’d like to run your route!

  9. Your timing is impeccable…I hate the gym, but I go during the winter because it gets dark too early to run after work. But–I will be putting my gym membership on hold starting this evening and getting back out onto the trails. whether I’m running or riding, it’s where I belong, for all the reasons you’ve written and more. Thanks. 🙂

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