Monday, April 6, 2009

Love and Water for Life

old shoe, new shoe

Life requires at least two things: love and water.

I like to run light. I wear as little clothing as the weather allows. I tie a single car key to my shoe, and I don’t wear any of those dorky fanny-packs with bottles of water.

But I think I’m going to have to change my ways.

Sunday morning I went for the longest run of my life, 16 miles. The sun burned off the marine layer early, and by 9 a.m. I was wishing I had not worn my black athletic shirt. By 10 I was wishing Venice Beach had installed more working water fountains. And by 11 I was walking/limping the last mile back to my car, envious of the babies who passed by in their designer strollers. Imagine whizzing by in a stroller -- with a sippy cup!

But I survived -- like an illegal dashing through the desert, with a salt-caked shirt and new tell-tale freckles -- I made it. And after I hobble back to the car and downed a carton of my son’s warm chocolate milk and a warmer bottle of water, I realized, water is everything.

In my hurry out the door I had neglected to drink more than 8 oz. of water. And over the past three and a half hours of running along the hot beach I had consumed less than six mouthfuls of water.

Pretty stupid.

So I guess I’ll pick up one of those dorky belts this week. Or maybe I’ll talk my Saturday-morning-sleep-loving husband into hanging out along the route with a fresh bottle of water.

Actually, Kip did show up about two hours into my run. He and the kids decided to go for a bike ride and encourage their silly old mom. You might not think so, but the look of absolute pride on my daughter’s face when she saw me running toward them was enough to fuel the next few miles. That and the mouthful of water I got from one their bottles.

Which brings me to my other weekend epiphany.

It takes a lot of heart to run. Not just desire to get out and run, but perseverance to run hard and run long. Encouragement from my family goes along way. But nothing replaces my own heart telling me I can do it. I want to do it.

I had actually planned to run Saturday morning, bright and early, 16 miles. But late Friday night I said something stupid (honest, but better left unsaid) to my dear husband and lit a marital death match.

In the war of words we were flying high and shooting low and I crawled off to bed having debated well and lost everything. In all fairness, we both apologized before we went to bed, but I was hurt, deeply. It wasn’t what was said, it was the deep heart issues of identity and self worth that felt violated. It awoke the sleeping lies.

When my alarm went off at 6:30 the next morning, I couldn’t run. I was emotionally dehydrated.

My dear husband is like a starfish. Cut off his leg and it grows back quick. He spent the day cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, saying nice things to me.

Are you still upset about that? I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t have said …. I didn’t mean it like that. You know I love you.

I spent the day staring at the ceiling.

I am more like an ancient coral reef. Without an act of God it might take a century to grow back. This time it just took a good heart-to-heart with a dear friend.

By Saturday evening Kip and I were both humbled, both sorry. Neither of us actually wanted to win the original argument. We just wanted peace. We have been married long enough to know what it’s like to live with a wall of frustration separating us. We don’t want to go there again. It’s just too lonely.

After a good night sleep I woke up early Sunday morning with a heart to run, grateful for a new day. Now if only I had grabbed the water. …..

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