I jog. Not run, definitely jog.
I don’t race. I don’t train for races. I don’t aspire to race. I jog regularly, slowly, and outside if at all possible for lots of good reasons mainly centered around my sanity.
I’ve jogged through blizzards and deluges and a tornado watch on Tuesday night. You know who jogs through a tornado watch? A mother desperate for time to herself, with a surprise 60-minute window very likely to become a 30 minute window when the soccer practice gets called halfway through due to lightening and tornado watches. Fellow worriers, next time I jog during a tornado watch, I’ll jog on my treadmill in the basement. I promise. This time I needed trees.
My jogging slightly sucks in summer. Especially this summer. Each and every jog this summer feels heavier and slower than the last. Heat dislikes my jogging. I keep adding more ugly accessories to tame it–baseball cap, headband, too-short shorts, water bottle strapped to hand–even for four miles.
I typically use my basement treadmill more in Wisconsin summers than in Wisconsin winters, but given the mild temperatures this summer, I continue choosing the outdoors where I can behold the familiar and ever-changing scenery. Yesterday I saw something new; a dad on a skateboard pushing a baby in a stroller. Yesterday I saw something old: men of all ages, figures, and square-feet of body-hair wearing nothing but shorts while jogging. Yesterday did not end up a chafing day, and for that I say hooray!
Honestly, though, I’ve spent most of each jog this summer fighting discouragement, thirst, and questions:
Why do I feel so heavy?
Could I possibly be getting even slower?
How can this still feel hard after years and years?
Then I pretend-conk my own head “I shoulda had a V-8 style” and remind myself to breathe and say YEAY breeze! Yeay shady pass! Yeay still pretty wilty yellow flower faces! Cheer them on for loosing their heavy handed gauche youth and growing into their wise if sort of almost dead grace!
I picked up Pema Chodron again recently and she reminded me why I jog. She reminded me I am training my body and mind as a warrior, to sit with discomfort.
Jogging will get easier this fall. I’ll probably even have a few of those light-feeling easyish jogs and add back on that fifth and sixth mile I abandoned in the heat. Maybe. Regardless, I continue because of the warrior training–not for running marathons (or even jogging marathons) but for life marathons. This exercise of my body and my humility trains me for breathing through anxiety both good and bad. This jogging reminds me I can soldier on even if it isn’t my favorite and even if I feel less LIKE A BOSS and more LIKE A BLAHH.
You should see my jogger nerd get-up. Imagine if you will this tank top drenched in sweat, plodding along, possibly paired with a red sweatband around my forehead:
I run like a sweaty slow Jogger Warrior. I’m uncomfortable. Go ahead and pass me.
(Thanks again, Pema.)