I like the way my body catches itself — the heels of my gloved hands skidding through pine needles, knees pressing into wet dirt. My nose hovers inches from the ground.
Ear buds still in place, I flip myself to sit to the side of the trail and brush at the dirt clinging to my Lycra clad knees.
I never miss a beat. I'm lightning on my feet.
Taylor Swift: my wry running angel.
I'm new to the sport. No. I've stopped and started so many times I've lost count, but I've only recently embraced running as a practice. Six days a week I run in these woods, and in light of my new-found devotion, I feel the need to credit something. Someone.
Why now, I wonder?
Maybe this is just our time. But I've been attributing my zeal to my equally uncharacteristic love for the pop spell that is 1989. (Late to the party, I know.)
Music still pouring into my ears, I ease myself up and see a woman clad in a white cloak and her Border Collie, unleashed by her side, watching me.
Flustered, I smile slightly, and she and her dog start down the trail again.
It's like I got this music in my mind, saying it's gonna be alright.
I'm annoyed about the witness. I run in the woods because the trees help me think. I run in the woods because this trail by the river calms me — which is really why I run at all.
But maybe I also run in the woods because I'm inexperienced. So... what if I fall? What if I need to stop and walk?
Learning curves are disconcerting enough without an audience.
But the lady with the cloak has seen me.
I hesitate, embarrassed.
Honestly, I shout in my head. Get a fucking grip. Nobody. Cares.
But I keep cruising,
Can't stop, won't stop grooving.
And in this moment I know why running has chosen me now.
Because the woman who transformed into a skinned-kneed, pop-loving runner? Can do anything.
It's a small thing. But the truth is, it doesn't matter how small or big the challenge: picking yourself up when you fall feels triumphant.
Risks are fundamental to success. And missteps are fundamental to risk.
What if the only thing between you and your goal is how much you are willing to dust yourself off?