Chasing Joy.

My heart thumps miserably in my chest as I tie on my running shoes. Every bone in my body is screaming, “No! Stop! Return to the couch!”  But I get to my feet and shuffle out the door, forcing my reluctant muscles into motion.

My worries pull at my clothes and whisper in my ear as I stride down the street.  There’s not enough money. Too many bills. Not enough hours to spend with my daughter. Too many chores to do. I’m weak. Fat.

I round the corner and break into a jog.

The black cloud in my soul shrieks louder, getting right up in my face. Who do I think I am, anyway? I’m no runner. I’m just another bloated Midwesterner, taking up more than my fair share of space on the planet.

I pick up the pace and charge up the first hill. My mouth opens, releasing puffs of negativity and replacing it with big gulps of night air. The voices in my head begin to quiet, realizing their protests are landing on deaf ears.

The earth slants downward in front of me and I find my rhythm. My blood hums and my awareness spreads outwards, reveling in the slight breeze that cools my brow. Feeling strong, I turn and start up the first in a series of three hills, ignoring the voice still whispering that I can’t do it.

My calf muscles scream and my breath wheezes, but I keep going, sheer stubbornness propelling me forward up the second hill. Before I know it, I’m down the other side and heading toward the biggest, baddest climb on my route.

My body tilts forward, every fiber of my being focused on getting to the top. There’s no negativity now – only a host of cheering voices urging me on. My blood sings as I reach the summit and turn for home, reveling in my own power.

My stride lengthens as the terrain smooths out, and my inner goddess stretches lazily, sending tendrils of contentment into each of my fingers and toes. I see the signpost that marks the end of my run and push forward with one last burst of speed, burning up the pavement between me and the end of the road.

Arriving home, I  flop down in the crunchy grass  and  laugh quietly to myself.

While concentrating on outrunning the darkness, I found joy.


24 Comments on Chasing Joy.

  1. Melissa {adventuroo}
    August 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm (5 years ago)

    Really awesome post! I felt like I was right there with you. I feel the same way right before I work out– there’s SO much else to do. But man, do I feel good afterwards!

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 8:51 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks. Most of the time I have to force myself out the door, but I always end up being glad I did.

      Reply
  2. Las Vegas Mama
    August 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow that is a great description of something so simple as going for a run. And I identified with it. Thanks for this.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 8:52 am (5 years ago)

      Well, thank you! Everybody’s had that don’t-wanna-go feeling, haven’t they?

      Reply
  3. Jennifer
    August 20, 2010 at 12:57 am (5 years ago)

    Your description was so good I started panting with each word. I think I got a work out! Thanks, I needed that! Nice post.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 8:52 am (5 years ago)

      Good. Now go eat some cookies! After all, you’ve already burned the calories off (at least psychically)…

      Reply
  4. Allison @ Alli 'n Son
    August 20, 2010 at 10:32 am (5 years ago)

    That’s the amazing thing about running isn’t it? You feel so much better after than before (or even during). Physically and mentally.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm (5 years ago)

      It is indeed. Don’t know what I’m going to do when winter hits.

      Reply
  5. amy
    August 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm (5 years ago)

    So awesome! Great job on this =) Your descriptions are excellent.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm (5 years ago)

      You know, it totally wasn’t the post I sat down to write. But it’s what my inner writer demanded. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  6. Lindsey
    August 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm (5 years ago)

    You have a definite way with words. So creative and descriptive! Wow! I just discovered your blog today and would love to follow it! Come stop by mine anytime :)

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm (5 years ago)

      Well it’s very nice to meet you! Thank you for stopping by.

      Reply
  7. Life with Kaishon
    August 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Good for you. Way to go : )
    Running is one joy I don’t have in my life.
    I should!

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm (5 years ago)

      If you start just be aware that there are months of pain and suffering before you get there.

      Reply
  8. dusty earth mother
    August 21, 2010 at 12:17 am (5 years ago)

    I sooooo know how you feel. Although I often feel like just another bloated Easterner taking up space on the sidewalk… oh the eventual joy. Lovely post!

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 23, 2010 at 8:44 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks. As a general rule (from the little I’ve seen), I think you East Coasters take up less room than we do…we’re hearty cornfed folks out here (snort).

      Reply
  9. Scary Mommy
    August 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Ohhhh, I love this!!! I wish I could say I relate, but I find more joy under the blankets. But, I did love reading it– do you think I burned any calories? 😉

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 23, 2010 at 8:41 am (5 years ago)

      You burned at least 50 calories in the reading of this post. 500 if you mentally envisioned yourself running. So now you can feel completely justified in hiding under the covers a little longer.

      Reply
    • Amber
      August 23, 2010 at 8:37 am (5 years ago)

      Darn tootin’. Though I’m guessing I’ll never be able to run as far or as fast as you!

      Reply
  10. Phyllis
    August 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the encouragement I need to get back in gear and get MY mid-western booty back on track! I’m still at the fast paced walking stage and I’m looking forward to having THIS kind of run!!

    Gonna have to keep this post in mind anytime I hit a block – physical, mental or writing!!

    Thanks again for the great post!!

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 24, 2010 at 9:04 am (5 years ago)

      Go, Phyllis, go Phyllis, go Phyllis! You can do it!

      Reply
  11. Liz @ Peace, Love & Guacamole
    August 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm (5 years ago)

    This is wonderful! I too run to quiet the voices in my head…and after many years of running I’m still amazed that it actually works, and that EVERY time I run I feel that joy. It’s awesome.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm (5 years ago)

      It is. That’s why I’m going to make myself go again tonight…even though I’d rather sit and drink wine. 😉

      Reply

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