Looking outside, I can view and see the sun is shimmering golden yellow in the west, as it begins to descend behind the Las Conchas mountain ridge. Flames are rekindled on the western horizon, just as the residents of Santa Fe witnessed during the summer’s blazing fire in the mountain. My shoes laces are tied on each shoe and my iPod is placed upon the arm. Leaving from home, my daily run begins. Today, five miles is set. As my run begins, the beat of the music pounds in my ears, as my feet pound the pavement step by step. Every day, I run the same path, some days my run will take me into a new direction which makes each run unique and different. With each step, there is a feeling of familiarity over each pebble and under each shoe as each foot trudges forward, step after step.
The day was Nov. 1, 2008 and my eyes opened in my cold bedroom where I lay still clothed from last night’s Halloween party. Embarrassed, I remember very little of the event that took place the night before. Smelling like stale cigarettes and feeling like a slug with greasy pores, my body ached from the over indulgence of fun that was consumed hours before. Embarrassed, I remember dancing poorly with cigarettes dangling from my mouth, swirling smoke surrounded our bodies. Embarrassed, I remember leaving the Halloween party sloppy-drunk. It was Nov. 1, 2008 I awoke smelling of stale cigarettes and bad boozed breath””it was time for a change.
Step after step, my feet find a steady pace where my heart does not beat faster than the music in my ears. My mind begins to think of all the things that need to be done””for the next day and the day after that, a map is prepared for the next few days and sometimes the next few weeks. Scanning the mind for ideas of the next writing project, running has given me the opportunity to be by myself and think without any pressure. Sometimes, when my run is done, I return home, stretch, write, and read””it’s amazing the clarity one gets when I am out on the road for 40 minutes or more. Sometimes, I return home to shower, write, and then head to work, finally returning home only to read more and write all night.
On November 1, 2008, I awoke to change. Change meant my mind and body needed to push forward and begin its healing process. There were times when my mom would come to mind and guilt set in because diabetes slowly ate away at her body. It pained me each time I returned home to see my mom appear different with each visit. There was a time in my life where I turned myself into this fitness machine. Dropping 35 pounds a few years before, 20 pounds of it had made its return, and so did my embarrassment. November 1, 2008. I remember lacing up my shoes and beginning my run.
More and more each day, my continuing running schedule amazes me. Each day, something new comes to me. Today, the yellow blooms of the chamisa plants are beginning to emerge””fall is near. Today, the yellow flowers with green stem sway in the yellow desert dirt. Today, the tips of Navajo tea are yellow, but still they are too young to brew. Today, down the hill, down the arroyo, the trees shimmer and dance fancy with yellow as the wind sings its fall lullaby. Today, the yellow sun stood behind the mountains and waved good-bye.
Running the distance of one mile, my heart beat faster and faster with each minute. One day turned into two days, two days turned into three days, three days turned into four days, and eventually one mile turned into two, and so forth. I ran because I wanted to; I ran because I needed to better myself; I ran for my life. On Nov. 1, 2008, I awoke thinking about all the pain I put my body through. I awoke wondering what my mom would be saying to me at that moment. I awoke that morning where I eventually turned one mile into 26.2 miles. On Oct. 18, 2009, I succeeded at running the Duke City Marathon.
Good-bye was hard to say, when I lost my mom on July 31, 2010. With a broken heart and sad state of mind, I nearly fell back into a slump again. It’s been over a year and still my mind holds sad feelings deep inside. Each day is a mending process, where running allows me to think of all my faults. After months of ailments and dumb summer blues, on Aug. 7, 2011, my body was ready to return.
Marathons of memories run through my mind as I return back towards my apartment, towards the opposite mountains of the east, where the sun rises each morning and greets me. Each morning, I look forward to a whole new day. I look forward to seeing my little family and greeting my friends. There is not one moment where my mom does not cross my mind. It’s because of my mom I push myself to succeed at the Institute of American Indian Arts. It’s because of my mom I run. It’s because of my mom I am hoping to run the Duke City Marathon again on October 23, 2011. It’s because of my mom I awoke on Nov. 1, 2008 and decided to change my life.