I used to love to run, but in recent years–as my waistline has grown–I have ceased to enjoy the feelings it gives me. I’m not sure why, either. I like to be alone with my thoughts, particularly when they are not the chaotic ones that are brought on my life’s stresses and a weird neurological disorder that I have which causes repetitive thoughts to cycle through my mind over and over again.

When I lived in Brooklyn I used to love running from my apartment on Bay Ridge Avenue down to the waterfront, where I would make a left towards the grand Verrazano Narrows Bridge which connects Staten Island to New York’s most cozy borough (I really miss that place). I loved the smell of the ocean water and the site of boats whipping by or giant tankers lumbering in and out of the harbor. Cars raced by at high speeds, but I, running maybe 6 mph, felt even more powerful during the four-mile run. It helped to calm my frustrations, my anxieties and put me at peace. One morning in mid-July 2004, awakened for several hours by panic attacks, I put on my beat up sneakers and headed for the massive gray bridge. Eastward dawn sunlight illuminated the water as I ran, and when I returned to my apartment, sweating and breathless, I was calm and dozed off for several hours in peace.

Now, running is harder. Despite purchasing an MP3 player (which I’ll discuss in another posting), running is hard still. I feel tired easily and I don’t get the same satisfaction I used to get from pounding the pavement. It’s depressing. I’m trying to think about it and figure out why that is. Have I become so serene I can’t run or is there a restlessness inside of me.

I used to be spotted during college breaks running down Kenwood Avenue in my hometown of Delmar, New York. I was a running fool. Six miles, four days a week, sometimes in 96 degree weather. I loved the feeling, sweat-soaked, drained of worry and fear, relaxed. Even running 100 miles on a treadmill during the fall term of 2000, I couldn’t capture that exhiliration.

I’m noticing things are changing, but I feel a confident insight into why and a feeling I can regain my elan again. I hope so. I’m putting on my sneakers in an hour–as soon as the rush hour traffic dies down–to run for an hour or so. My body deserves it, but my soul craves it even more.