Monday, January 26, 2009

Revolutionary Run

I recently watched the movie Revolutionary Road. I must admit, it could be a chick flick but I am certain their are men out there who would really enjoy it. The two main actors were exceptional (hello Leo) and it was quite a statement on suburban living...even it was in the 50's. After I saw it, I was running and could not stop thinking about it!

In the past I have mentioned that I tend to make up crazy stories while I run and of course this was no exception. I imagined a very elaborate story involving a bottle of wine, a set of poolside deck chairs and Leo's glorious eyes..I digress.

In the movie, there is Frank a spirited young man with goals and aspirations who eventually falls into the same non-descript job his father held where he rides the train to the city and sits at a cubicle. April is his wife who at one time wanted to be an actress but now finds herself in the position of doting housewife and mother waiting while her man brings home the bacon. The tone of the movie is that of the deadening impact of cultural suburbia turning its occupants into lifeless souls. Without giving too much away, you feel sorry for both characters at one point or another and I doubt there is anyone out there that does not find some mirroring in their own relationship.

I live in the suburbs, I have a loving husband that I adore, 2 children - a boy and girl of which the boy is older, a two story house, 2 cars and a small yard with a wooden jungle gym. I work outside of the home but let's face it, despite my vast education, my salary would hardly pay the bills making the man of the house the primary breadwinner. He commutes to work and often comes home to his dinner warming up in the oven. So despite the generations between this film's story and now, I find myself in a nearly comparable position. Does that mean I will eventually face the same crumbling grip on reality? In some ways, I chose this life but it's not like I laid out a set of instructions and checked them off my list.. Two story house in the burbs - check, one boy and one girl - check. Trip to Italy for the weekend - check (oops scratch that - that was my other life).

Running along, I wondered if I was at risk of being sucked into the vortex of suburbia wasteland. It occurred to me that there was one dramatic difference - no where in the movie did the female lead follow through on something extraordinary. As much as I beat on myself when I miss a few runs because of the other things that fill my life, I still run a lot more than most people out there. I have no idea what the stats are but I am certain there is only a small percentage of people (particularly women) that can run for more than 20 minutes at a time. In the film, April is likely feeling the effects of not only her compromised life but also the list of accomplishments unfilled. Disappointment in yourself can be more toxic than swimming in one of our polluted water bodies.


I decided that if people only found something that makes them feel extraordinary than perhaps your soul would stay in tact - even if you live in a brick box surrounded by other, nearly identical brick boxes. When I run, I feel the blood pumping and the lungs filling and I love the sound my feet make when hitting the ground and even the strange twinge I get in my 35 year old hips that have borne two children. When I run in events the energy around me from the participants and the spectators is as addictive as refined sugar. The ever popular "runners high" can ride along with me all day helping to ward off the blues, lower the blood pressure and keep stress under control.

There is no doubt that I will never win a gold medal or even my age category. I don't have lunch with political power houses, take weekend trips to Peru or write bestselling novels but running is an extraordinary aspect of my existence. I am certain that running provides me the capacity to be a great mom, a loving wife and productive citizen. It lets me exist in my cookie cutter life and still be fulfilled as a human being. I hope that everyone that runs realizes that as much as running does not define you, it certainly is part of the definition.

That said, I have get going because I have cookies in the oven -- and their burning. :)


26 comments:

MCM Mama said...

I live a somewhat similar existance (although more urban than suburban). Now that I'm a stay at home mom, running is something I do that helps me feel like "me", not just mom. I can have measurable goals. I get to decide how much or how little to put into each run or race. It's the one thing in my life that's all about me, me, me.

I think I'd be totally lost if I didn't have that.

Rookie on the Run said...

Well said!! I so relate to your blog and to MCM Mama's comment. Running is mine... not my kids' or my husband's... it's my thing and it provides me with a strong sense of self-satisfaction.

Laurel said...

This is an awesome post! So well written and the exact thoughts I have had many times. Running has done so much to help me in the past few years. Since I have started I have always found myself feeling fulfilled, no matter what other situation I am in. I try to explain this to non-runners, but they just don't get it.

I really want to see this movie. I love Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes. I was a little concerned about seeing it with my husband though for fear of what thoughts it may bring up in both of us. Ha. Glad you reviewed it here.

Running mommy said...

That's a beautiful post! And I love your thoughts on running as a way to feel good about yourself and your life.

I wanted to see this movie before, but now I can't wait!

thanks for dropping by!

Denise said...

Such a nice post...and you're right. Running is a huge deal, not everyone can do it. We should feel very proud of ourselves for getting out there each day and pushing ourselves.

Heather said...

I agree - we all get stuck in our roles, whether it's mom, professional, whatever and need to find something that we have passion for and actually do it. Running gives me a sense of accomplishment that has nothing to do with anything else - just with my own hard work.

Janice {Run Far} said...

What a great post. Loved it.
I agree with all the women. Running for me is my escape. I am a SAHM and I do enjoy it, most days. My hubby works hard and alot. My kids are wonderful, with very few fights and problems, but I sure enjoy my time alone out on the road where I can be me. I can run as hard or as far as I want. Running makes me a better mom and wife.

RunnerMom said...

To expand on MCM Mama's last sentence---I WAS a bit lost before running. I haven't seen that movie, but I can imagine how the character felt. You are right--running brings something extraordinary into our lives. As wonderful as being a mom, a wife, and a homemaker is, I needed MORE.

Love your title of this post--clever!@

Oh, and isn't blogging about running and getting feedback from friends kind of icing on the cake?

Nikki said...

A agree - great post. I think all of our lives are fairly ordinary unless we find things to make them extraordinary. The trick is identifying those things and being proud of them!

tfh said...

Great post. There is an element about running that I think makes it esp. meaningful to women (as long as the world isn't perfect 100% gender-equal), don't you think? That feeling of being mentally and physically strong combats so much...

Marcy said...

I'm with MCM Mama. Same setup. SAHM, 2 kids, the regular hamster wheel of life. Running is the on;y time I can literally run far, far, far away from the house and not feel bad leaving the kids behind LOL

The Happy Runner said...

Rock on! What a great post. I just kept nodding my head as I was reading it. So well said.

P.O.M. said...

Disappointment in yourself can be more toxic than swimming in one of our polluted water bodies.

Amen. I love this post.

N.D. said...

Great reflection and post. I think it is all about finding that one thing that makes you work and that you have a passion for. I really enjoyed reading this.

Tara said...

Great post! Although I do not have a husband or children I feel like running does make me feel exceptional :) I cannot get enough of the feeling when you are in a race filled with people who feel the same way! It's amazing!!!

Kristina said...

What a beautiful post. This is what I'm talking about. Thanks for your thoughts.

teacherwoman said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! :) I am making cookies tonight, weird.

In response to your comment about doing some tri's on my blog... I grew up swimming, and probably didn't do any formal swimming (of laps) for 12 years prior to starting back up a year or so ago. Then, I was leary, afraid, and just not that good. I swam with my head out of the water, which is a heck of a lot of work; I could barely go to one end of the pool without being winded, I was afraid of attempting down and back, fearing that I wasn't going to make it all the way back, etc. You get my point. Just like every other discpline, it takes time and effort. And like other things, we find that we are better at one thing over the other; and that happens in the world of swimming, biking, and running as well.

I look forward to reading more about you adventures!

Katie said...

Great post! I feel the same way...running makes me a better mom and wife. It makes me stronger, gives me more energy, and helps me maintain a sense of self.

Oh, I also make up crazy stories while I run. I've never told anyone though, because I've always thought that maybe just maybe I was a little insane. ;)

lindsay said...

great post! we are all in different stages of life, working, raising kids, both (or even neither), but we can all relate to the fact that running is something you do on your own power. it has personally been a great outlet for me to get in some 'me time', sort out life's problems, and vent away stress.

Carlee said...

Love this description of running...sometimes people don't quite understand my love of it. I think this nails it, no matter what your life consists of.

Jess said...

I want to see that movie, and I like your review of it and the comparison to your, and most our, life. Certainly, for most of us, running provides us with further meaning and significance and that's a huge part of why we do it.

SuperDave said...

Wow, what a great post!
And a great mom and wife and homemaker and career. I love your outlook on life!

Jo Lynn said...

Nicely written. I hope your cookies didn't burn. ;)

D10 said...

Nice post. Well written. I too make up lots of things in my head while running. Hope you enjoyed to cookies.

Melanie said...

hi, i just went back and edited my post, but here's a link that explains it more... http://www.helenjaques.co.uk/blog/2009/wellsphere-blogging-copyright/

Kweku and Laura said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. The month I got pregnant I pulled a tendon in my ankle and haven't been able to run my whole pregnancy! Urg! Maybe I can live vicariously through you until Gooner is born and the lass and I can run together!