Sunday, August 12, 2012


Most mornings, I lie in bed, the sun slanting through the blinds and muster the will to not so much get up, because I'm not depressed and actually love the morning, but, rather rise and go, now -- move my body, get up and go, you have to exercise, you have to start, again. It's an irritating dialogue that I have each morning with my deep heart's core, and nearly always, the indefatigable one is the voice that takes its cue from the ticking clock, the smell of coffee, the arthritic big toe, and I don't get up and go. 


I downloaded an app on my Android (who knew I'd be typing sentences like these when I learned to type in the ninth grade from Senor Martinez, my pinky poised delicately over the p on the black, manual typewriter, waiting for his soft-inflected Spanish p,f,p,f,p,f,p,p,f,p) that is going to coach me toward a 5K. I'll type that again, my fingers flying: I downloaded an app on my Android that is going to coach me toward a 5K. A nice woman named Alison starts me off with a warm-up walk of about three minutes and then suddenly urges me to RUNNN! and I pick up my feet and my thighs, thighs that haven't lifted into the perpendicular in quite some time, and I ru -- well -- shuffle. I do this for about thirty seconds or so until Alison mercifully tells me to WALK! and I walk until she pipes in, again to RUNNNN! and her voice is lilting, she is encouraging me to RUN! as if there were a deep, green Irish meadow in front of me, the great Yeats beckoning me to the Lake Isle of Innisfree, we will arise and go there, the poet says, so I lift my feet, my thighs, and ru -- well -- shuffle until the poet is blurry and Alison tells me to WALK, and I do. I walk, my face on fire, sweat running into my eyes, perhaps they're tears of relief, really, and right now the walks are much longer than the runs, and I'm doing it, I'm going to do it.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning, to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day,
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

William Butler Yeats (1864-1939)


  1. I did this program last summer and LOVED it! For someone who approaches exercise for the sake of exercise as torture, it was a very civilized way to build up to running. I wish you luck and hope you continue to enjoy it.

    I love the way you describe meeting the morning. I can relate.

  2. Elizabeth. You. Make me happy.
    That poem reminds me of a fantasy place I've held in my heart for forever. I use it as an image, a dream, when sleep eludes me.
    Exercise? Well. I must. But I do not ruuuun.
    I walk fast and that is enough for me because I can and will do it and that's enough for me.

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  4. I Have loved that poem for ages.
    Running....not so much. But yay for you.

  5. Ah have loved that poem since childhood! I was a runner for 30 years - until I experienced a freak spinal cord injury while helping with a four person lift getting my very stubborn daughter out of the middle of the street and into the house against her will. I was paralyzed below the waist when I entered the ER, told I would stay that way. Not an option in the world of special needs parenting : ) Now I am a walker - a very fast walker, if I say so myself. I can run for 90 seconds - and it is EXHILARATING! So glad Single Dad referred me to your site. I live in Orange County, with a mermaid of my own :D

  6. Run Elizabeth run. Or walk. No matter. Just keeping putting your face to the sun and the combination of that movement and the light and fresh air,truly can be freeing.

    Proud of you. Shall we 5K it together? Would really love that.

  7. They have an app for everything, don't they? Sounds like a worthy pursuit! I always feel a lot better after a run. :)

  8. Moving our bodies is always amazing and life affirming.

    How was Ruby Sparks?

  9. YES! Run/walk is the way to go.

  10. WHOOOO HOOOOO!!! everyone starts somewhere, but no one does ANYthing unless they start... somewhere :) Good for you :)!! You can do it - you've done much harder than this!

    The hardest part about running is getting out of bed and going. If you've succeeded at that, you've done half the battle, right?

  11. Oh, man. I hear you. May the road rise to meet you, you shuffling Athena.

  12. A droid as a personal trainer? Now they have thought of everything. Thought you were going to say you found one to help you get out of bed. If you do please let me know as I suffer from the same monotonous morning conversation with myself.

  13. I have found running soothes my soul in a way that nothing else can. I started off barely running 30 seconds. Now, I am training for a 10km run. Well done to you!!

  14. The dog has been getting me up and out for a walk early lately (that, and the knowledge that if I wait I won't go out at all, into that 95 degree sauna.) I don't run, though, so you're WAY ahead of me!

    Thank you for the poem.

  15. I am an hour a day walker and I know my dog would love it if I could/would run some of it. I think I need to find this app....

    Love your description.


  16. One of the captions I considered & rejected for your video project (which I am deeply ashamed I never contributed to - I saw it & it was glorious) was "It gets better". Didn't really want to sum up parenting this way but it definitely applies to running. 30 seconds of running will stretch into a minute which will stretch into multiple chunks of minutes. I may not always enjoy the actual process but I love that feeling of strength after.



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