Not all runs are joyful

It's been nearly a month since I last touched the blog, as I've been traveling in Thailand, wrapping up work at my old job, and preparing to move to Ohio. Various life events have kept me not only from writing, but also running. What started off as a joyful 2013 rapidly became one of the more challenging months of my life; needless to say, I'm eager for January to be over.

My world came crashing down earlier this month when my grandmother suffered a stroke. I was thousands of miles away, halfway across the world in Thailand. On the wings of a guardian angel, I flew back to California (Bangkok to Hong Kong to San Francisco, then to my car in Oakland and on to Quincy, CA) and made it home in time to say goodbye. I was blessed to have some time with Gram before she passed away on a cold, clear winter day.

Gram, a stunning bride
During the time I was in Quincy, I didn't run - I was afraid to be away from Gram's bedside for too long. After her death I came back to Davis and again, didn't run. I sat on the couch for days, in my pink bathrobe, not showering, watching crappy TV, eating everything in sight. Nothing was right; the world was numbing, surreal. 

Finally I laced up my shoes again and ventured out for a run. It was hard, my body slow and awkward, running so unfamiliar. Out of shape, sick, hurt, my body was manifesting my emotional pain as physical ailments. Needless to say, it was not a joyful run. Not many runs this month have been.

Nor do they need to be. Back in November I set a goal to enjoy every run, to savor each remaining mile in San Francisco, a la "Live each day as if it's your last." Some runs this month have been enjoyable - those miles covered in the company of good friends. But many have been slow, solo slogs, barely breaking 8 minute miles. So much for enjoying every run.

Yet during these painfully slow miles, in the winter chill, along lonely country roads, I'm finding a certain comfort. And, gradually, some measure of healing.

During the most difficult of times, running has been there for me, like an old, dear friend, even when I've pushed it away. Step by step, I'm making my way back to the roads. Grief will lessen as fitness, speed, and strength return. In time, I'll be back on track, with Gram watching over me.