It deserves its own day. After all, it changed my life.
I don’t love running, really, which sounds sort of weird to say since I’m saying it’s changed my life and all, but it’s true. I am not really built for it and I am never one of those people who can get lost in running and get high off of it. I am always very aware of every step and many of them are painful. But like an arranged marriage between two strangers, over the years I have developed a strong and very loving relationship with running. And a very deep respect for it.
I know that running is not my gift (oh how I really wish it were), but I love running because it has shown me my gifts.
It has changed me. And I will be forever grateful.
Running changed how I view the world. There was a day when I went flitting from place to place in my busy life, unaware of my surroundings and rushing to get from point A to point B. Running showed me beauty. It allowed me to soak in my surroundings and appreciate them. Like watching the dolphins while I run along the causeway.
Soaking in the New York City skyline as I run across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Or finding Big Balls while running along Vegas Strip. *snicker*
Feeling the magic of Walt Disney World as I run through the castle. The wind and the sun on my face.
Running showed me I have the gift of perseverance. Perhaps if I were having a conversation with running, it’d call it being “stubborn,” but either way, I never gave up on running and it didn’t give up on me.
Running taught me patience. I admire the many people who can lace up and head out and feel like they’re flying, but it takes me many many months of running to even remotely feel like that. I don’t like waiting to be good at something. I want to be good NOW! But running showed me how waiting while persevering will get me there. Eventually.
Running taught me strength, focus and discipline, the three words I try to live by every day. I remember when I first started running, 55 pounds overweight after the babies on a 5 foot zero frame, how badly it hurt to run. The jiggling hurt. I wanted to cry. 30 seconds seemed like an eternity. 30 MINUTES seemed impossible. Running taught me how to focus, to turn my brain off and stare at the little green dot in the corner of the tv set until I got there, to play music that matched my footsteps or that inspired me, to be one with the pain, and to visualize the end goal and most importantly not to ever quit. EVER.
Running gave me courage. And confidence. With every finish line I crossed, it gave me the courage to go further. 3.1 miles, then 6.2, 13.1, 26.2, 70.3. It gave me the courage to try new things. To do a triathlon. To overcome fear. I guess you can say too, that running gave me endurance, but more importantly, the courage and confidence to endure.
Running showed me it’s ok to fail. I have had some really crappy races. Poor nutrition, undertrained, flat tire, bad day. Whatever it is. Running taught me to fall down 100 times, and get up 101.
Running gave me good friends, a strong marriage, and a close family. It sounds funny to give credit to running for the state of my marriage but how can I not? We’ve run together, we’ve crossed finish lines together, we’ve supported each other, during good races and during bad.
The ingredients for our favorite date nights usually include a workout and beer and as much as we can, we run together as a family. To teach them they can. Whatever it is.
And oh the miles and hours that have been filled with stories between me and my husband or me and a friend. It might seem like running is an individual sport, but for me it’s been a team effort.
Running showed me glory. I’m not an Olympian. I don’t win races for my age group. But when I cross the finish line and my arms involuntarily go up into the air because of what I just conquered, when tears fall from my eyes because I just beat all those inner voices and adversities I faced along the way, when that medal goes around my neck, when I kiss my husband as I go through the chute, it may as well be the Olympics. It is glory and it is mine and it fills me up.
I think my favorite thing about running is that running taught me that I can. That if you just keep one foot moving in front of the other, no matter how hard or painful it is, no matter who says you can’t, no matter how much you weigh, no matter what you are going through in your mind, no matter what the weather is, lightning can be crashing around you and you can be drenched in the pouring rain and I’m speaking both physically and metaphorically here, you could have the poopy poops or have puked at mile 10, no matter what you are going through on that course or in your life, you can.
I may not be a gifted runner, but running showed me all my gifts.
Ironically, I got to the end of this post and realized I didn’t mention that running gave me weight-loss until now. It did, but somewhere along the way, it wasn’t about the weight anymore.
I learned how to be nice to my body and myself.
And I finally started to feel like something. It’s not about the weight.
It’s about living life.
It’s about toeing the line.
And giving it all you got when the gun goes off.
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