But I didn’t plan to give up running. In fact, over the next several weeks in Washington, I explored new routes, trying to find a way to get 10-15 miles in without getting lost. One morning, after my mother had visited, I was supposed to take her to the airport by 11 a.m.
“I’m just going to head out for a quick run tomorrow before we go,” I promised Mom. “I’ll leave early, so that I can get home and get you to the airport in plenty of time.”
Mom just barely caught her plane.
I kept seeing Laurie, telling her the things I knew she wanted to hear. She didn’t keep a scale in her office. She said it distracted her clients. Instead, once a month, we borrowed her colleague’s digital bathroom scale. When I asked her why she didn’t use a big, doctor’s style scale, she asked me why quarter pounds were important.
I rode my bike to Laurie’s office, ten miles from our house.
“What was your workout today,” she asked me every time.
“I just did some yoga, actually.” But I kept my bike stuffed under her fat, green bushes, so she never knew about my “unofficial” workout.
I never meant to quit. I only tweaked little things. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to start doing my quiet time with Him before I worked out. Part way through the deployment, Patrick suggested that I get a dog. My new five pound companion, Brave, liked slow walks and playful romps much better that long distance runs.
In the quiet of my prayer chair, early mornings were so much more delicious and fulfilling than they’d ever been on long runs in the dark. Meandering walks with my puppy, watching him eat grasshoppers, or stopping for every child on the street to pet him, swelled my heart with a gratitude that I never felt over a new pair of Asics.
Running fell away like a mysterious shadow. It had never had substance, only floated behind me, reminding me of where I’d been, what I’d once accomplished, and driving me to do more.
It’s been five years now since I sat in Laurie’s office, hoping she couldn’t read my mind, knowing that she probably could. Today, I find myself barely running at all. I’m still active. I love to move. But the compulsion, the phantom fear that I can never stop, never do less, is gone.
When I ran, I used to inhale constantly. Often, I finished a run feeling like a bloated, miserable balloon. But recently, I’m adopting yoga, learning to match my smooth deep inhales with full, complete exhales. I feel like I’m blowing away all my effort and self sufficiency, trusting that like my breath, it will come back to me.
In yoga, my movement isn’t a workout, it’s called practice. Yoga leaves me room for failure, for days of less and infinite days of more.
Much as running melted away, my healthy body has resurfaced. And I’m not afraid of it, of its size, of its potential or its failure. I’m actually reclaiming my love of, discovering the true definition of fitness.
Reclaiming Fitness Pt. 1, Abby Kelly
Addiction and Grace, book
What is Addiction, video