Tuesday, December 16, 2008

no say in the matter

Ever have that experience when you see, hear, or feel something so far outside your expectations that it takes several moments for it to register as being real? I had a moment like that today as I ran by a house, elegantly decorated for Christmas with brightly lit lawn ornaments shining over a lawn that looked to be a very imported shade of green, myself decked out in running shorts and a t-shirt on a 68 degree day in December. It just didn't fit.

I often have these moments with my pregnancy as well, especially while running. The same hill I could power through on a 93 degree day in July, now takes the wind out of me less than halfway up, at what feels like less than half my old pace. These are my legs, right? The same calves, the same hamstrings, the same quads. The same hills too. After all, in Greenville it's just not possible to do a flat, easy run, unless you're on a treadmill. The runner is trapped inside a pregnant lady, with this little thing inside stealing her oxygen and blood.

I'm certainly not complaining, far from it. It's just... strange. We're still a month away from hearing the little thief's heartbeat for the first time and until then, it's silently redirecting me towards a different purpose, whether the runner likes it or not. Maybe it's not helping that I'm caught up reading John L. Parker books (Once a Runner and Again to Carthage), but part of me is hoping I can live vicariously through Quentin Cassidy's often poetic journey as a runner, just to hold on to the memory of what it feels like to conquer those demons along with the miles.

For now, I have to be content to be a spectator, to Quenton, to myself, and to the rest of the running world. Nothing is quite like setting an ambitious goal and achieving it, but nothing else is quite like growing a baby inside of you, either. Just as one can tire of watching others pass by in a race, I know I've been tired of seeing other women's blossoming bellies and not being able to know what that feels like.

As I transition from one world to the other, I have to be careful not to get caught up in the in between, where I don't quite fit as a runner, but don't yet feel like a mom. Like Christmas decorations on a too-warm December day, I look in the mirror and think, "Is this right? It just... doesn't... fit." Well, not yet anyway. It will soon, I'm sure.

"And at last he saw: there was no refuge in cowardice, because he was not afraid. There was no alternative, it just had to be done."

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