I’m not saying I got the motivation back but I kept running. I am saying thanks for your comments. I took them to heart. Finagled a friend into trying a 30-minute jog with me. Read running articles. Went out for just one mile. Let myself sleep in a few days in a row. Planned a race.
But the best thing that happened last week to remind me why I love running…
It was on that 1-miler. As a two-time marathoner, 1 mile is almost embarrassing to write. But I went out. I ran. And I saw my old language tutor, a man in his 50’s, running. With his 11-year old daughter.
Let me say that again.
A Djiboutian man in his 5o’s. Running.
With his 11-year old daughter. Running.
This wasn’t just any 11-year old either, this was Deeqsan. I was pregnant with Lucy when this man was our language tutor. He is a linguist, a multi-time published poet in France and in Djibouti, and loves his language. When we decided to give Lucy a Somali name, we asked his advice. We wanted something beautiful and meaningful and deeply Somali, not borrowed from Arabic.
He suggested Deeqsan. Pronounced Dek-san, the ‘k’ is made back in the throat but don’t worry about that if you can’t master it. Deeqsan means, “Gift from Allah.” And it means, “Gift from Allah that is so sufficient I could never ask for anything else.” And it can be used in slang to mean, “That’s enough.” He also told us his daughter was named Deeqsan, the only other one I have ever found.
We didn’t think twice. Lucy is our gift from God that is so sufficient we could never ask for anything else and she is our enough. So she is Lucy Deeqsan Victoria Jones. Lucy That’s Enough Victoria Jones. People compliment us on this name often and ask how we came up with it. When we explain our reasons and tell them who suggested it, they clap and laugh and shout, “Deeqsan! Way noo deeqaysaa!” Deeqsan, she is enough for us.
Deeqsan and her dad running together thrilled me because of how unusual that is in Djibouti. Probably as unusual as running with sheep.
I’ve made running too much about myself and about times and distances. The reason I started in the first place was because of relationships. Feeling strong and able to keep up with and inspire my kids and maybe a few Djiboutian women. Discovering Djibouti from street-level and the morning people I encounter. The simplicity of running and the simplicity of being human together.
I jogged with Deeqsan and her dad for a while, chatting and catching up on life, and then I turned back.
This is the best way to not quit running. Be inspired. Live. Watch. Experience. Relate.
And I fell in love with the sport again. Remind me of that later when I complain again, please.
Who are your favorite runners? This week mine are Deeqsan and her dad.