Kathy Lavoie is one of my favorite people in the universe. Despite being chaotic, hard to catch and mostly noncommittal about everything, she is incredibly easy to love. In fact, it may be her chaotic, hard-to-catch and mostly noncommittal qualities that make me love her. Lucky for me, I was able to get her to sit still long enough to write this for me. Thanks, Kathy!
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I have never considered myself a runner. I’m not sure I ever will. Everyone’s definition is different and I will never make judgements as to whether someone else is a real runner or not.
For me, being a runner is much like being a musician. Just about everyone can be taught to play a musical instrument. I can’t be the only person whose childhood memories are forever scarred by memories of the recorder in music class. To this day when I see one my ears start to bleed. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But my point (which I do in fact have) is this – almost all of us are able to run. I have watched my children crawl, cruise, take those first timid steps and ultimately run as fast as cheetahs. Or at least it seems that way when I am chasing them.
The thing is that just because we can all run doesn’t make us all runners. Much like music, it’s about soul. There’s something beautiful about watching someone who has that soul behind what they are doing whether it’s music or art or running.
I used to live next door to a runner. Every morning, rain or shine or snow, she was out at 4 am. There was nothing fancy or showy about her running, it was just part of who she was.
And then there’s me. I can play the clarinet, the piano and yes, the recorder, but I don’t consider myself a musician. It is simply action and reaction. I can read music and plunk out the notes. It ain’t pretty but I get by. My running is much the same. I’ve finished some 5ks, a 5 miler, a 10k and a half. NONE of them were pretty. But I knew that theoretically I was supposed to be able to do this. We were designed to run. I just needed to put one foot in front of the other.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to run. But for some reason it’s still rote memorization for me. I’m still plunking out the notes.
Running as an action has enough benefits that even if I never find that flow it still makes sense in my life. I’m hoping that someday it will just click. Although in my mind that moment is accompanied by an instantaneous ability to run with the grace of a gazelle and the endurance of the tiger chasing said gazelle. I’m not holding my breath. For now I’m content with putting one foot in front of the other.