so i went for a nice, easy run on Sunday. the kind of run where you don’t care if your ipod is on shuffle or if it will play straight through because you know, inevitably, you’ll hear them all (and some of them twice) so you’re content. in fact, i was curious to know what songs were still on my playlist. I had an hour to find out.
it started off as any innocent run would; no head games, just the slicing through of the thick wet blanket of humidity that was slowly thinning, as though some great savior had begun to whisk milk in a bowl full of egg whites.
on longer runs, i tend to ease into my thoughts slowly. it’s like they’re in sync with my heart chambers or something. i’m not breathing hard so i’m not thinking hard. the pressure is off. just run and enjoy. but of course, i get into a rhythm (which is to say that I start to run a bit faster, and then i see some guy or a group of girls running at a good clip and i feel the overwhelming desire to flash past them whilst breathing only slightly under strain. this is mostly always an act. it’s usually hard to maintain, but i flippn love it). so this starts happening and i engage in some fantastic speed work on the back end by the arlington bridge until i tell myself to CHILL OUT KAYMILLER this is supposed to be light? be easy? remember? but my thoughts race on and I go to chase them down.
so i go on and i get more in the zone and my heart chambers are dancing. i’m letting myself take on a slightly faster clip than i wanted, but it feels good and I know the next 20 minutes towards home will be doable. but my thoughts turn back on, and i am chasing invisible fears and with known strengths. i have walls that start to stack themselves around this four-chambered blood beater. and i am trying, with every inch of ground, to knock them down.
Then, as I flick my eyes out to the distant Memorial Bridge, I see a man running towards me by the BU boathouse. He’s got a fuel belt on, a bald head and a grimace. He’s oil slick with humidity and clearly in the midst of facing his own demons....and loving it.
He reaches me in a few steps and in that brief moment we see each other. we are runners we are running we run. he drops his hand, palm out, and holds it in front of him. I slap it and in an instant, we gone, each running into our own unknowns.
i kept that smile on my face until i hit the showers. that experience was pure joy. and it caught me wholly off-guard; my reaction felt so absolute and real. it’s coming eye-to-eye with a wild animal and you see in the iris of their eye that life is much, much, much bigger than you. it’s the silence of a deep woods where you feel the most understood and you’ve yet to utter a single word. it’s more than an arm around your shoulder, a pat on the back. it’s more and i can’t explain it except that behind the smile was a tight ball of emotion. because the high-five was a hole-punch to the sky of the rational. and i saw something shining. we’re all out there, fighting the good fight, chasing down our demons, running from them, running towards something, grimacing, smiling, holding down, holding back, letting go. and we think we’re on our own. and then someone sticks out their hand. and gives you a high five.