Now that my running has mostly become walking or waddling (this is what lifting my knees and going through running-like motions really looks like these days), I decided to download an audiobook for the days when I’m on the indoor bike or craving more privacy than walking around town 8 months pregnant affords). I’m listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love right now (a little late to the party on this one, I realize). I figured this would be a good choice because it’s a book I’d like to have read, but don’t feel compelled to actually savor one word at a time (like I do with Marilynne Robinson’s new novel). Yesterday, I was circling around the soccer fields at the school where I teach when Gilbert (who narrates the book) read this passage:
Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless, newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care.
This is how I feel about running. I’ve often thought about running as my first true love. A transformative, empowering, humbling love. I miss running (rather than waddling) immensely right now. I’m excited, nervous, eager for the actual newborn that I’ll meet soon, but I’m also scared that this new love will replace what has defined me for decades. Not because I have to be a runner, but because I know myself best this way.