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Archive for March, 2011

It has been a long time since my last posting. A very long and painful time. It’s with an aching heart I write that Tanya, my comrade in all things fun and playful, has lost her 18-year-old son, Zephyr, in a ski accident on January 11 in Jackson Hole.

Since then I’ve composed many blog postings in my head while out on a run. This horrific tragedy requires a well-written reflection. I will be writing that post forever in my head. Instead, this is my shortened less articulate form.

Why we must play. I am not preaching why you must play. I am merely stating why I must play. Why, I think, Tanya must play. It is because with these runs, these steps—the literal movement forward step into the next step—that there is an expression of release and a moment of clarity. There is an awareness of self, of breath, of the mind that forces me to be in the present. Right here. Right now. I know that my head is clearer on a run than at any other point in my life. It’s what keeps me coming back to running. It’s what I know what to do. It’s what I’ve taught myself what to do.

I’ve had someone recently state that she’s not a runner although she’s running 7 miles 3 times a week to train for a half-marathon. Yes, Lauren, you are now a runner. She says “But it still hurts.” Yes, it’s not always easy. Running and easy are only connected when you don’t expand your limits. Once it’s easy, we push ourselves farther and challenge ourselves even more. That is playing. Playing is life.

The concept of play is one of happiness and skipping down the sidewalk or jumping one-legged through a  hopscotch game. My recent concept of play is one of much more importance. It’s not always an easy light activity. It’s weighted with love and remembrance and reflection. It’s therapy beyond what one could ever discuss while sitting in a chair in an office. Play is what it is. The definition changes with each day. I run with grief. I run for grief. I play to learn.

Right now I am training for my first marathon–May 15th, five days after I turn 40. (This forty milestone was a very big deal for me–a mid-life crisis in a way. That was until Zephyr died and perspective is now in place.)  My inspiration is Tanya (that’s another blog posting about her soon-to-be ultramarathon debut!). My inspiration while going up hills that hurt is Zephyr. My new mantra comes from graffiti at Zephyr’s school. It’s one I repeat with every beat–every step up the hills: life is beautiful. (It really says “life is beautiful, and stuff” but that’s harder to keep the beat with “and stuff” while running. In fact it’s harder to keep the beat with “and stuff” in life.)

Life really is beautiful,
and stuff.

 

Tanya & Leslie, 12k on Feb. 13, 2011. (She beat me)

 

 

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