In the last two years, I’ve gone through a lot of emotional, existential alchemy, pushing me to ultimately take the dive and start my kennel on my own terms. At that two-years-ago mark, I was in what was probably the best physical condition I’d been in since high school. I was running up to and over 20 miles on a regular basis. I was boxing a few days a week. Thank god for all of that physicality. It got me through some really tough brain stuff. Running became the only thing that mattered to me for a while… And I can’t say that it *mattered*, exactly, it was just, like, the last thing left. Like, well, my world is crumbling, might as well go run 25 miles.
However, when things smoothed out, when I found some stability and happiness again, I just dumped all of that physicality by the wayside. This is all part of my cycle, I’ve done it before.
In the last year, the physical habits I formed, which had saved me, slid away before the tide of my good cheer. What a funny dichotomy. Do I have to have a great dissatisfaction or unhappiness driving my desire to physically move? Maybe.
But I enter a new phase now, the phase where we begin our multi-year journey towards Iditarod. It starts with the pup’s first year at mid distance. These next few years lead to my one shot at my first Iditarod. A shot I’ve been working towards for almost 20 years. To make that shot half hearted would be… An inconceivable waste. To let these dogs down, who are hopeful and ready and incredible before they’ve even begun– That would be a betrayal of them. And if nothing else, I let myself down by not inhabiting this physical body in a way that makes me happy. When I exercise, I always feel better. Always. For my mental health, there is nothing better than moving my body. For a long time, I was able to get that movement by doing jobs that entailed physical labor. Moving for 8 or more hours a day in toil is a great way to inhabit the physical body. Now, though, my job is a sit down job, and I don’t want to give it up, because it has been great to me in a separate, but essential way. This means that to achieve the physicality I need for my own life and brain, I need to move that body intentionally. That’s kind of a good thing. I can’t just let my work be that movement for me.
So, I am taking the arduous, terrible steps towards forming (reforming!) a habit. A few habits. Drinking water. Eating fruit or other things that are actually grown vs. manufactured. And little by little, running again.
It’s tough to run in some ways. I mean, it’s laborious and painful, but that’s nothing new. The difficulty is that it reminds me of that time two years ago, and I don’t want to think about how bad things were then. But, the truth is I have to confront those parts of my past, and this time, running is going to take me into the confrontation– Not away.
Here’s where I’m tempted to make big promises and tell you all the great things I’m going to do. But, I know that’s a trick from my brain, to try to apply pressure to myself. There will be some things I’ll do, and I’ll tell you when we get closer. For now, I just want to say: I’m putting my shoes on, and getting my feet on the ground. It may not be far, and it’s definitely not fast. But it’s something.