I have written -- more than a few times on this blog -- that running is my way of shutting off all of the external noise in my life.
It lets me process my thoughts. I write in my head on long runs. I turn things over and over again until I wear the jagged edges of a single thought smooth.
This, of course, is both a good and bad thing.
On days something is really troubling me, I can log many many miles off of trying to smooth out a single, solitary thought.
During the first runs after last year's Boston Marathon, I could not shut the internal replay of that day's events off during runs; as if someone was holding my eyes open to watch a terrible nightmarish movie over and over.
But I kept running. And eventually, the movie that once roared in my head has quieted, like the sound of a television humming in a far off room someplace.
This weekend, for the first time in a long time, there was no replay of last year in my head at all during my run.
I woke up early Sunday for a long run. I had made a plan to run to a childhood friend's house to see her and her newborn. What better motivation is there for a hilly long run than cuddles from a newborn and strong coffee with close friends?
The weather was perfect: It was cool and sunny and the roads were the driest I can remember them being in months.
All I could focus on during my run was the fact that I was running to meet a handsome little boy. Everything didn't matter. My slow pace didn't make me grumpy like it normally does, I didn't lament every single hill, and that replay did not surface once.
This weekend, with 14 short days until the Boston Marathon, I was reminded I have always found joy in running -- even the runs that feel like a major struggle.
In 2 weeks, remind me I wrote this post.
The 21st should be about reclaiming the joy I couldn't find last year.
It's still there. I just have to convince it to run with me.