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At 3:40 PM yesterday, I felt my first twinge of Race Registration Anticipation. Not for any race in particular — I just had an out-of-the-blue thought that I might want to run a race sometime in the next year. Or whenever.
And then, at 5:46 this morning, I slipped back into my neglected little Brooks Adrenalines and I retired from Zero Week.
The run itself was unremarkably perfect.
I ran in Central Park, around the lower loop a few times and once around the Great Lawn. I ran without my watch — as I plan to do for the rest of the year — and I didn’t listen to music. The park was dark and quiet.
I felt good and comfortable. I was never heaving and I was never walking. I don’t know what my pace was and I’m not sure how far I ran. I’m learning to be OK with not having exact data after every run.
It was the ideal return to running.
But I didn’t run today because I was craving mileage. After some time off, I thought I’d be kissing the ground in Central Park upon my return. Instead, I ran because, truthfully, it was convenient today. I wanted to work out this morning but I’m fresh out of SoulCycle dollars and nothing good was happening at my gym. So a run it was.
I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed and I was looking forward to getting out there. The fact that it was 45 degrees helped. And as soon as I started my little jog (yes, it was more of a jog than a run today), I was happy to be out there. I was happy to be back.
As for Zero Week, which turned into Zero Eight Days, it was pretty solid. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.
When I started this post, my plan was to write about my run-less week. I wanted to tell you all about the fun classes I took and the calf soreness I felt for two whole days.
But I don’t know…I don’t feel ready to hop right back into enthusiasm-mode.
As soon as it happened, I never wanted to blog about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I spent much of the work day last Friday glued to the live stream news coverage on my computer. That night, as Brian and I watched the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at New York City Center, I lost control of my emotions several times. I would laugh when the company did something clever, and then I instantly felt guilty and remorseful for feeling anything but utter sympathy and devastation for the Newtown victims and their families.
We all grieve differently.
As for me: I am a crier. I cried a lot this weekend and I had a hard time stepping away from the news and being productive. I watched the same repeated coverage — those same photos, those same details, those same news mistakes — over and over, and I let them sink into my brain, eventually letting the tears stream out of my eyes.
I was riding the subway on Saturday and a little girl — five years old — was sitting with her mom, happily chatting about The Lion King exhibit they’d just visited. She was precious. And then, out of nowhere, she looks up at her mom, her eyes wide, and asks, “What’s violent?”
I couldn’t hold it together and I had to turn away so the little girl didn’t see me cry. It completely broke my heart.
I don’t have anything to add to this traumatic time that hasn’t already been said or written — and done so far more eloquently than I ever could. What happened on Friday in Connecticut — not far from where I went to college and lived for several months afterward — was shocking, terrible and heartbreaking. We all felt it. We all have a million questions, the most concerning being, “Why?”
And now it seems trivial to jump right back into reality and write about my weekly workouts when this country is in a state of turmoil. But that’s what I’m here doing. I’m not sure what else to do or say, honestly.
I’m a writer without the right words.
Some people will acknowledge what happened in Newtown publicly and others won’t. Both options are fine. There’s no precedent for this. I just think now, more than ever, is a time to be compassionate and respectful, not just of Newtown’s community, but of each other, too, no matter how far removed from the tragedy we are. Let people get through something like this however they choose. Let the judgment guard down for a few days.
The emotions will eventually pass for most of us, and we’ll go about our routines without checking the news every few moments for breaking updates. In a few days, I imagine the front pages of the newspapers won’t show the candlelight vigils in Newtown. It won’t feel better and no one will forget what happened, but people will begin to move forward. Until then, keep the hugs and “I love you’s” flowing. They may not do anything to help, but I don’t think they can hurt.
WILL YOU BE KIND? I’ve been at a loss for ways to help Newtown in any way. I know you can donate to the United Way and find other charitable organizations seeking help, particularly if you’re a licensed counselor available for grief counseling. I don’t have much spare cash right now and I’m certainly not someone who can handle grief counseling. But I can absolutely commit to 26 acts of kindness in honor of those lost. It may not do much to help or change what happened, but I think it’s a lovely idea. (Check out the #20Acts or #26Acts hashtags on Twitter for some heartwarming acts people are sharing.)