I have a bum right hip. It aches constantly, but it's a bearable ache for the most part except when it's not, like when I wake up in the morning and it's so stiff I could barely walk or when I've just finished running or when I try to lie down on my right side and all one-hundred-and-thirty-five pounds of me seems to be concentrated in the exact spot where my leg and torso meet. Ironically, my hip hurts from running, but the only time it doesn't hurt me is when I run.
For my entire life, I've been a little bit too round--a little bit too chubby--a little bit too soft--a little bit too much. When I went to summer camp in Chicago, the camp counselors carried me more than I walked; when I was in fifth grade, my friend Jessica had to pull me when we ran during PE because I couldn't finish the runs on my own; when I was in middle school, I couldn't complete the mile run; and when I was in high school, the only thing I got sweaty for was sex.
The truth is, I've always considered myself pretty much incapable of even doing anything physical, let alone doing it well. Once I decided to get into something resembling shape at 27 and started running, my fitness level got a little better, but I certainly didn't send any letters about my running life home to my mother, something that I can blame on a half-assed effort and an inclination to hang up my running shoes the second I felt any discomfort from the waist down.
But things are different now.
While I won't go so far as to say I've rediscovered running since I never really stopped, what I will say is that I've kinda sorta reinvented my running self. For the first time in my running life, I run consistently, I run at a pace that actually qualifies as running, and I run because I actually want to. For the first time in my running life, I run because I love it.
I love that these legs that used to get tired when walking around the mall can now run miles at a time and that these formerly teeny tiny little lungs can now hold however much air I need. I love that feeling of falling into a rhythm that I get five to ten minutes in and the euphoria that temporarily takes away everything wrong in my world. I love the idea that my body--my too round, too chubby, too soft body that could never do anything--could do what it does now, could go farther and faster with every run.
When I'm bouncing down that sidewalk at night, passing the cars stopped at lights, racing across parking lots and streets, I feel like I have the strength and the power to do anything, and when Tom sings in my ear that he knows that everything, knows that everything, knows that everything, everything's gonna be fine, I actually believe.