I never liked running. I thought it was too physical. Exhausting rather than enjoyable. Then, my wife had an accident and went through ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery. The surgery replaced the ligament in her right knee with a graft and metal screws. She used to train Taekwondo and was good at it. After gruel rehabilitation for 6 months, she found limitations in her choice of sports.
“We should try jogging!” she said, one bright Sunday morning in the fall.
Not to betray her new-found, overdue excitement, I said, “Sure.” That’s how I got dragged in.
Knowing nothing about running, we ran for 1 minute and walked for 1 minute for 30 minutes. We ran 3 times a week. In 1 month, we could run 12 minutes, alternating with 3 minute walks. We never talked about quitting. It was painful for me to see her limping, knowing that she was an accomplished athlete. For me it was more of a sympathy run. For her, it was a battle for her dignity.
To reduce our pain and struggling, we learned about how to run correctly. We tried different breathing techniques. We changed our diets. Running slowly but surely began to change our lifestyle.
We ran through the winter. By spring, we had collected memories of the streets, brooks, changing colors of leaves, a half dozen state parks, and all sorts of passing thoughts. For the past 15 years, we have run in Hartford, Boston, New York, London, Seoul, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and wherever else we traveled. We proudly finished 2 half marathons.
I have learned to like running.
Running is moving Zen. It makes me happy. It brings problems and struggles to the surface. It gives me time to regurgitate them, chew them, spit them out. Because running in nature broadens my awareness of my inner self and the outer world, by the end, I am quite far removed from the problems and see things as they are. Office life could never do that.
Only in running, the sole of the foot meets with the soul in the mind.