I had a day the other week where I was recovering from an illness and didn’t have any planned or scheduled runs to do as part of my training. But I did have a few errands and appointments to get to, didn’t have a car, and I happened to have time. So I put my bag on my back and ran (or more aptly, jogged) all around town. It was such a great feeling, and led me to a premonition (or fantasy?) of myself in my later years.
It’s an image of a 60-something woman who just runs everywhere she goes. She no longer cares about races, or times, or proving herself or trying to remain young and fast. She doesn’t care where she falls in the rankings nor what is said about her as a runner. She doesn’t track her time or count her miles. She doesn’t have hard days or easy days. She runs where the patterns of her day and energy take her. Sometimes she gets a good stride going, but usually she just jogs along. She runs with a little knapsack which holds her wallet, phone and maybe a book in case she feels like stopping to read. She runs to visit friends, she runs to appointments, she runs her errands. If she needs to be somewhere which doesn’t require highway driving, she will plan to be there in the amount of time it will take her to run there. On some days she doesn’t have to go far, and on those days she doesn’t run very much. On other days she runs across the city and back. It’s never a bother for her to go to the bookstore to pick up a new book she’s been meaning to read, or to meet a friend uptown for lunch – she likes looking for new running destinations. She’s always running but she’s never in a rush. Whenever she sees someone she knows she stops to chat, and if her phone rings and it’s someone she’d like to speak with, she answers it. She doesn’t stop her watch when she stops to chat since she isn’t timing her run anyway. If she gets hungry she might stop at a cafe and sit down for a sandwich and coffee before resuming her run. Some people who don’t know her well call her “that lady who runs everywhere”. She doesn’t mind. She knows she’s a bit eccentric. Most people call her “that happy lady who runs everywhere” because she is almost always smiling.
I’m not there yet. I’m still fitting my runs into busy days and I’m still timing and measuring myself – trying to get as fast as I can in the limited amount of time I have. I’m not at a stage in life yet where I’m calm or at peace. I’m striving and working and pushing. And I’m enjoying it! I just think this pace may not last for another 30 years, and when I stop struggling, I hope to be that lady.