I will cross the finish line. October 20 is the big day.
Yes, I just registered for my first half-marathon. Call it my midlife crisis. Call it crazy. I call it bliss.
Running is my pill, my pillar, my pillow right now. I run to forget that Congress just shut down our government. That 800,000 people are going without pay today. National parks, museums and programs like WIC have been labeled inessential, and are closed until further notice. Maestro Osmo Vanska just resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra as the board has failed to come up with an agreement to keep the orchestra going and has cancelled their Carnegie Hall performances for October. Lots of bad karma overflows today.
Running gives me confidence. Each day is a new challenge. Can I go a step further? Can I get a little faster? Somedays it might be just, “Can I breathe? Can I lace up my shoes?”
It got me through 6 hectic days of Music Man performances and rehearsals, on top of my normal teaching and parenting schedule. Getting up at 6, going to bed after 11:30, driving miles to get to work, eating almond butter on gluten-free bread sandwiches in the car. But I’ve managed to get in an 8, and then 9.2 mile run, on the weekends. My ankle is holding up if I cycle on off days instead of doing shorter runs.
Yesterday Ballet Boy came home and just collapsed. He went to bed at 4 with 100 fever, got up to eat at 7, did his math and went back to bed. Sometimes the hectic life catches up, no matter how dedicated and active you are. He’s back at school and planning on 4 hours of dance tonight. Because he loves to do it. No one is pushing him. If he says he is too sick to go, I listen, as he gets his dance shoes on with joy every time.
I overheard a parent asking one of his mentors how they see talent in certain students. He thought a moment and said, “It’s not as much talent as potential. And dancers, the really good ones, must have a desire to dance, not win or lose.” He talked about how in sports it is clearly about a win or loss, but that dancers must enjoy the process and the art just as much as the performance. Sometimes it won’t be perfect. You just go out and keep trying. That’s not for everyone.
Just like in music. Just like in running. There will be good days and bad ones. Some days will feel like the world is on strike and no one is collecting the garbage. It’s overflowing all over the place and you have to climb to the top of one stinky pile to see to the next. But if you keep trying, there might be something beautiful, something rewarding, at the top of the next hill.