Running with Joy.

It’s been since July that I really ran with joy. Injury after injury and hard, painful races had left me with that kind of grim satisfaction in accomplishment, but not the sweeping excitement and happiness that I chase. Both of those emotions are valuable; grim satisfaction in stomping through a trail half-marathon is something I treasure. Overcoming pain and discomfort, doing things that are hard, asking more of myself than I think I have to give; when I accomplish these things I feel powerful.

But this week. Finally, as the winter darkness and mists claim Seattle, I have rediscovered the raw, unraveled joy in just running. Sunday, BB and I went for six miles of trails in Discovery Park. It was just above freezing, and the rain turned at times to sleet. We ran up hills and down ridges, stairs and sand and mud. I slipped at one point and slid, coating my leg with wet clay.

And I was happy.


Then, Tuesday, I ran hills on the sidewalks around my neighborhood, running 5.6 miles at a 9:34 pace, with 580′ of gain. I felt fluid and happy and healthy the entire run, even up steep hills. My legs and heart and head all aligned in a concert of smooth, comfortable effort.

And I was happy.

I’m healthy, after months of physical therapy. I’m strong. I’m speeding up. And I am enjoying the process. These days are sometimes brief, for me. So I will linger in them as long as I can.