Thinking and Running

I had two veins of thought today during our run: one was an asthma play-by-play and the other was about gratitude…
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that I can’t run as much as I want with my new schedule. I get home so late every day that I’m home just in time for dinner, then it’s family time, then the kids are in bed and I want to chill. I don’t have a lot of time to myself, or at least, time I feel okay about selfishly using to run. Anyhow, I’ve decided that my answer is to run further distances fewer times per week.
I’ve found that running in the fall definitely comes with it’s own set of challenges. Mostly, the air is soupy and thick with smoke, moisture and particulates, making it hard to breathe. I’ve gone on a few runs lately where I’ve forgotten to use my inhaler and paid the price! I get about a mile into my run and it becomes harder and harder to catch a complete breath. I can breathe on the surface, but I can’t get air deeper into my lungs. After a block or so like that, my lungs start to burn like crazy, my right shoulder and back starts to cramp up, followed by my rib cage seizing up and then I usually start to freak out. I snark nastily at Bradley, at this point, and then, as I calm down, I feel like a jerk and cry, usually from the relief of the asthma attack releasing it’s hold as much as anything. Sometimes when I have an asthma attack I almost feel like I’m having a heart attack- it’s kind of freaky.
The good news is that as long as I use my inhaler, I can run and run for ages without any problems. I’m realizing how important the inhaler is, how vital it is and how absolutely grateful I am to have such marvelous medicine that enables me to run through all the seasons.

Today we perfectly timed our run. The storm clouds were rolling in and we decided that we had better get going or it was going to be very wet! We managed to run 3.5 miles, and it wasn’t until the last 1/3 of a mile that the clouds unzipped and let loose all over us. It was a gorgeous run!
While on our run today, we ran past an elderly lady ‘s house. We’ve watched her house for years, curious first, as her holiday lights stayed up until May, then watching to make sure she was ok. Eventually her holiday lights came down, cars came and went, the lawn was tended… Then this summer her house seemed quiet, still, and this weekend her house was put on the market. We were saddened as we saw someone, most likely her daughter, standing outside her house, sorting this and that into boxes and moving them into a moving truck. I was saddened for their family’s journey into that phase, the one where your parents can’t live alone. I was also saddened as I considered the steps people follow as the elderly move further away from their independence. The triggers that set things into motion- a stroke, a seizure or something that makes children take notice and move their parents elsewhere.
Then I thought of an older neighbor of ours who, tragically, had a stroke and laid in her kitchen for a length of time (a few days) before she was found and taken to the hospital. I wondered what I would think of if I were in that position, to keep from panicking… I realized that I couldn’t readily remember things that are important; the stories about me, my greatest moments. When I want to distract myself, I go to fantasy, to what-ifs, to books I want to write and to my imagination, but what I truly love in life is my family. I realized I should have practiced moments from my life that I can call upon in moments where I need calm and focus. I started considering my bests:
*The moment Bradley walked into my apartment for the first time and I saw his lightning bolt of a smile, then engaged him in hearty talk about Noah and the covenant of the rainbow.
*On the day of our wedding we found ourselves, alone, at the venue, early in the morning. We held hands and walked around the park, stood quietly on the bridge and remarked that this intimate moment would be the most memorable and special one of the day. True.
*When each of my children were born, my husband sang a song and ferried her, then him, around the room, allowing me to plant the first kiss on each cheek of my babies.
The list goes on, but as I thought of my memories I realized how very rich I am to have such a lovely partner and wonderful life to share with him. Every best, beautiful memory is connected to my husband; my life was good before him and became amazing as soon as he walked into my apartment.
I stopped my husband, at this point in the run, and hugged him tight. I let him know how grateful I am for his companionship and we walked for a moment while I shared my thinking. We continued on and finished our run, arriving home very wet, quite happy and our gratitude for our life, health and happiness resolute.

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