Thursday, March 10, 2011

Running Through the Spectrum

I may not have mentioned it here, but I received a Kindle for Christmas! I am absolutely hooked on it, and I pre-ordered a book for the first time. When I woke up on March 1st, Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong had been magically transported into my home, and was waiting for me on my awesome little Kindle!

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but perhaps I didn't really know what TO expect. This is a compilation of blog posts that Ms. Armstrong has written for Runner's World, grouped into 26.2 topics. It's very enjoyable, as I've never read her blog before - but had I been a regular reader, I think I would have been disappointed to pay money for material I had already read.

But it did get me thinking... I wonder if anyone would read a book I wrote about running. Aside from my first posts about how I got into running, I haven't really spent much time sharing why I run, or my feelings after a run, or what I feel like if I DON'T get to run (it's not pretty! LOL). I could call it "Running Through the Spectrum: How a Homeschool Mom turned Runner Girl to survive Autism".

Hmm, not sure that I like how that sounds. Autism is hard. Really hard. And scary. And stressful. And overwhelming. And all of that. But I love my children for who they are - and that includes autism! Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and come out as a mom who is not looking for a cure. But that's easy for me to say since my children are are quite high-functioning. Anyway, I digress. Maybe "survive" wouldn't be the best word for my title, then. Perhaps I'll get out the thesaurus and see if I can find the word that would describe what running has done for me, specifically when it comes to my ability to handle the rest of my life (which mostly consists of dealing with autism, since I'm a homeschooling mother!).

Here's a story I might share - if I were to write a book:

Running makes me feel like superwoman - for at least as long as I'm actually in the process of running. Once my feet stop moving back and forth in that rhythmic "low and slow" pace that feels comfortable for me, I tend to crash back to earth and land with a big thud.

A huge example of this involves the 3-4 months leading up to my first ever Blue October concert. I found their music just a couple of weeks before Austin had his first seizure. This, of course, was also just a few weeks before I took up running! So for a very long time, running and Blue October were intertwined. Those early runs were timed as I built up my endurance, and I would set a certain song for a walking interval and a certain song for a running interval.

About a year after I first heard their music, I had the chance to see them live and in concert. Those months of anticipation found me listening to the new CD on my mp3 player, and thinking of all the things I would say to the band members (specifically the lead singer and songwriter) to let them know how much the music touched me and helped me through that challenging period in my life. While I was running, I was amazingly articulate and appreciative. Piece of cake!

The night of the concert arrived and it was as incredible as I had anticipated, and my BFF and I waited around after the show for pictures and autographs - and, of course, for my chance to express my emotions just as I had done so many times during my runs! I was, after all, superwoman! My BFF pointed out the lead singer and drug us over to where he was greeting fans.


My legs gave out, and BFF had to steady me. She moved me forward and it was my turn. I opened my mouth, took a deep breath, and said, "Hi." Wow, that was amazing, huh? He signed my copy of the lyrics book he had just published and tried again, "Thanks." I was on a serious roll here! He was walking away when I blurted out, "Can I get a picture?!" And then I uttered another "thanks" after that was done, and thus ends my big, powerful sharing of emotions with someone whose writing had helped me through such a challenging time. I left shaking my head, while my BFF laughed hers off!

The very next time I went running after the concert, my brain picked right back up where it had left off - the conversation that I would have with Justin one day. I laughed to myself and said, "Yeah, yeah - nice try!"

So maybe one of the reasons that I am drawn to running is that I feel strong and powerful and brave and coherent... at least while I'm running!!

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