A long time ago (about 20 years if memory serves) I had a girlfriend I used to run with. It was her idea for us to run together. I miss that. I miss sharing an experience with another (and given the times, that seems even more significant). Sometimes the experience brings people together. Sometimes people are already together and that is why they are sharing the experience. These memories you make though, they are shared memories and they do not always fade very quickly. For that, I am thankful.
I remember we would meet at a particular park and run this loop through the forest. The brown dirt and green leaves in the spring and summer were soothing in a way I still can’t describe. I was faster than her at the time and so I would do my best to run at a speed that neither felt like I was dragging her behind me, nor made her feel like I wasn’t trying. And of course, since I was young and madly in love, I was entranced by her beauty. Despite that I did my best to not spend all my time staring at her… well, you can imagine what I might have tried to abstain from staring at. I’m also sure you can imagine what my success rate was like in that endeavor. The point is I was transported to a better place while running with her through those woods.
When we ran together I just felt like everything was right in the world. I could not have imagined wanting anything else. The feeling of endorphins and clarity of sense was a thing I have struggled to not chase the rest of my life. The memory is still so strong. I can put myself back to that time as if it was yesterday. One foot in front of the other. Crunch, crunch, crunch go the twigs and leaves as our feet fall. I hear the birds, I smell the trees, I hear her breath and my breath as we run, playing in the woods. We dodged and jumped and chased each other like puppies escaped from the yard. When we finished runs sometimes we would take each other’s hand and place it on our chests so we could feel each other’s heartbeats. It was magical. At this point if you need to vomit a little in your mouth I’ll understand, but it really was beautiful.
I am surprised at how many good memories I have that touch on running. Running in love is something that is hard to describe. It is a good memory and I am glad for it. I did not get as much time as I would have liked with that love- but running still remains and for that, I am grateful. It is my hope that this gratitude will continue with me whether I run alone or with another. Perhaps we should all pause to say thanks- for the present, or for the memories. I do love running in love.