My father once told me about his neighbor. A stay-at-home mother of three, the woman picked up running. And got seriously addicted to the habit. She ran ALL the time, my father said.
"She's running away from the house," I said, half joking.
Now, that I've started running myself I can tell you this: it's no joke.
A friend remarked yesterday that she knows a number of women my age who start running, and I have a theory about the phenomenon.
We're running away from the chaos, running from the madness that chases us daily and threatens to swallow us whole.
I need to hear my heart pound and my breath labor to drown the daylong barrage of crying jags, constant tantrums and whining, oh my god, the whining. MAKE IT STOP.
I need to distract myself from the toys scattered across the floor, the unmade bed, the dirty dishes, the bills, the cluttered cupboards, the disorganized closets, the unpainted fence, the laundry pile, the clock that shows that Kent is still not home.
"Just make it to the next light," I tell myself. "The next stop sign. The top of this long hill."
It's not unlike the pep talks I give myself during the day:
"Dig deep. Only 20 minutes till quiet time."
"Another hour and you can get a coffee, march the tribe to the park, get them outside!"
"Wash the pans now. Empty the dishwasher. Get it put away so you can start fresh tomorrow."
"Forty-five minutes and they'll all be in bed."
It feels like a tiny victory every time I make it to the next mark. So good that I feel like I can make it to the next hurdle. Sadly, that's how I get through most days. Encouraging myself to power through the increments.
I work hard to find beauty in the moments. But let's not lie to each other, they can be ugly too.
Which is why the running feels so good. So necessary now. I'm running from the ugly - putting distance between me and the noise - so I can look at the house differently when I run home.