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My calves are talking.  No, not calves as in bovine babies.  You know, those muscular looking bumps on the back of your lower legs.  Gastrocnemeus and soleus to be anatomically precise.  They are complaining, letting me know they are there.  Matter of fact, peroneus and tibialis muscles are talking too.

my favorite running shoesWhy?  Yesterday I went for a run.  If you can call it that.  Then I did it again this morning.  How long has it been?  Maybe a year? two?  I’m not SO out of shape, but my lower legs are a bit unused to this kind of treatment.  They are just letting me know.

Yesterday, while at a yoga studio, I picked up a brochure for the Oly Trot: a 4 mile run to be held on Thanksgiving Day as a benefit for the Thurston County Food Bank.  A worthy cause, I thought.  I brought the brochure home for my niece – she is just getting herself back to running after time off to recover from a broken foot.  She ran the Portland marathon a couple of years back…. she is my running hero.

“Oh,” she said, “Let’s do this!”   Um, did she just say “let’s” as in both of us?  Did she think I could possibly be interested?  I brought the brochure home for her… didn’t I? I mean really, I haven’t done any running for a year at least… maybe two. I wasn’t sure I could make it around the block, much less run 4 miles.

But then that ‘sure-why-not-anything-is-possible’ aspect of my personality (the bit that tends to get me in to trouble, or at least into adventurous situations) rose up to the surface. Well, it said silently, if you really wanted to you could run 4 miles by Thanksgiving Day.

Ah.  The inner challenger.

“OK,” my words came out sounding awfully nonchalant.  “”Why not? I can do 4 miles by Thanksgiving Day.”

I told wH I was signing up for the Oly Trot.  “Do you really like running?”  he asked with a befuddled look on his face.  He never gets it.  To him, running is what you do when it is necessary to get somewhere fast and there is no other option.  And there’s always an option: walk, or ride a bicycle.

Part of me agrees with him. It is a crazy thing to love doing. Running really sucks, most of the time, and yet…. Running can be exhilarating.  Ask anyone who runs.  Even when running sucks, it feels good to be out there.

kona trail running Oregon 09

No, we are not running in snow (yet). This is a photo of a very happy Kona running on trails in Central Oregon, circa 2009. He still gets this happy when he runs. His tongue wags as much as his tail does. 🙂

So here I am, back on the running trail.  It is not too difficult to start. I take my dog out every morning for a walk anyway, so why not make it a run?  That eliminates the “hardest part is starting” cliché before there’s even time to think about it.

My run yesterday morning was short, but a good start none-the-less.  Equal parts walking and running. Equal parts road and trail.  Kona (my dog) loved it.  We did it again today. When I see how happy it makes my dog, I am inspired to keep going, if only for his sake.

One of the things I love about running is  the way you can use it to shift your energy. And it’s not just running.  Any physical activity – yoga, bicycling, sports, gardening, even just going out and tossing a ball for the dog – can shift energy. Our bodies are made for physical activity. Moving makes them happy, and a happy body is good for the mind.

I started out this morning in a funk, and ran my way right in to gratitude.  I am grateful for the little things: the cold morning air in my lungs, the smell of the mossy forest, a dog’s tongue-lolling smile, a body that can walk and run and dance.

Life is good.