i had intended on running regularly during our travels but that was derailed early on. i managed one run along the beach and then turned to yoga and just going with the flow while traveling around. we are back in japan now, our rhythms still adjusting to time and re-establishing routines now that we are back.
this morning, i woke early and headed out for a run. the heat and humidity, even early in the am, was daunting. my clothes were wet and clingy before i even hit the street. i dialed back my running app (i need a pace otherwise i wind up taking on too much and meeting with injury) and found some motivating tunes and set out on my familiar route. as i ran, i fumbled clumsily to find the proper greeting in the correct language as i passed by others who wished me good morning. reaching for the correct response was a bit like digging through the junk drawer for the one item you just knew was in there somewhere.
i tried not to focus on the heat nor open the door for that inner critique who was whispering that this would have felt easier had i kept it up while traveling. when it felt challenging, i lowered my head so the brim of my hat blocked out the horizon and caused me to focus simply on the pavement just ahead of my feet. i looked over at gardens i had run by this spring that were now flourishing with life and fruit. the app buzzed and told me i had reached the half-way point. this is always my favorite part as it's that first half that is the hardest, i know i can finish from there. my feet found a rhythm and i silently conjured my intentions as my mind began to quiet to the mundane chatter and opened to more creative thought and spark.
the app announced my run had completed and i savored the walk to cool down but i knew that my route had not brought me to the end. this is how i run, by the end i am able to dig deeper and push. there is a hill at the end of my run that even if my predetermined distance has been met, i make myself run up to my own designated ending point. that last hill is never pretty but i run it nonetheless. my head forward so my the horizon is blocked by my hat, focusing on my feet striking the ground and feeling grateful that my body is able to push like this despite the heat, the hill, the years, and whatever obstacle has come before. the soundtrack of the cicadas feel like cheers as i reach my finish point. i inhale deeply as i take the time to cool down and face the day before me.