Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Am Become

I ran cross country in high school. I learned the deceptive translation of miles to kilometers, what to eat, how to train. Ours was a winning team -- the boys took state that year -- even though I wasn't any good. I did finish the season, almost to spite my coach, but I hated it. I got through each race only by telling myself that my deceased grandmother was watching over me and she would be proud.

The only other time I can remember running was a dry hot afternoon after a terrible day at work. I don't know why; all I wanted to do was run. I put on my sneakers and just took off, running until I could barely move, then turning around and trudging home. It seemed like forever, but I'm sure it was only a couple of miles. Since then the fastest I have moved was crossing the street against oncoming traffic.

And yet . . .

I have been running lately. I use the dogs as an excuse, and my health as a reason, but there's something more happening. I am finding a certain satisfaction in a good run. I am experimenting with stride length and have taught myself not to heel strike. I am learning a new language, one of the body rather than the mind. I am taking pride in my strength, and pushing for more. It's a foreign country for me, one I enjoy visiting.

I am become
more beautiful
with each stride
As my legs bend and spring
I rise into
the next breath
stretching forward
calculating each step
and I finally know beauty
that comes not from
the shapeliness of my calves
or the brute strength of my thighs
or the sweat of my brow
but the exultation of my soul
as I fly along the concrete


  1. I really like this - I am no longer able to run and I really miss it - but I know exactly what you’re tailing about.

  2. How wonderful. I've been inspired.