It was all rather embarrassing when I started to ugly cry while explaining why I loved to run. Why would such a question spark tears? As well as a lot of snot. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of response from myself nor do I think anyone in the room expected it either, after all it’s just running right?
The Women’s class I’ve been attending on Sunday mornings has been on “Christian necessities and delights” and this particular week we were discussing delights… what brings us joy, pleasure…. No one in that room was shocked that mine was running, they know that I’m slightly more than addicted.
“Why do you love to run?”
“When I run, I’m free” and with that last word my voice cracked and the tears started falling.
Running started out as a means to get healthy, lose weight, be active…
A life changing event occurred not even two months in, and it wasn’t for the better. I was so blindsided I didn’t really know what to do with myself other than to keep running so I wouldn’t lose what I had worked for. It didn’t take long to realize that running was going to be my outlet. It took away some of the stress and tension caused by the situation, it didn’t take away the pain but it helped, oh how it helped.
I found myself WANTING to run, NEEDING to run… I’d go out and push myself hard, I’d cry sometimes and sometimes I’d even smile.
Then I became competitive, better known in this case as selfish. Every time I went out, EVERY SINGLE TIME, I was racing myself, I wanted a personal best 5k, a super-fast minute mile and so on. I wanted to go out even when it wasn’t a good time (family wise) to go… you could say I was running from my problems, you’d be right.
Fast forward past a lot of “smaller” races, some bigger races, a couple injuries, a pregnancy, and an emergency surgery and you have me huffing and puffing at half a mile. Recovery… coming back…. Boy that’s humbling. I wasn’t making personal bests, I was rivaling my personal worsts. Yes I had “baby weight” to lose as motivation, but I wanted those feelings back… the feelings that made me happy, the ones that made me free. I didn’t care near as much about records anymore, I just wanted to run… for FUN! Things in my family life have changed a lot since almost 5 years ago, 3… even 1 year ago.
I’ve “grown up”
Yes, I still run for me, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve started praying during parts of my runs since I’m out there for hours, why not all of it? Well I’m one of those people that get distracted really easily *squirrel!* so anytime is better than none. I’ve learned to soak in my surroundings, the beauty in nature, the art of the sky, all of it is the works of His hand. I listen to some Christian artists and do some worshipping through music while I’m out there. I do a lot of thinking about life, how blessed I am… I think about the little boy I run for now, named josh, he’s an inspiring guy who makes my heart smile. I make a point to wave and/or say hi to everyone I come in contact with, I have found most people are happy to see a runner look up and say hi with a friendly smile vs. looking like they’re going after an Olympic medal.
I didn’t want to run a marathon before the end of last year. Zero desire… because I was overly competitive, though I’d give other reasons. But now… not only do I want to, but I am enjoying every step of training that’s helping me get there. The support of being gone for hours from my family makes me love them even more, which I never think is even possible and yet time and time again… goodness I’m blessed.
I’ve thought a lot this week about my crying over running in class and I’m no longer embarrassed over it. It really does mean that much to me. It helped me leave obesity behind, helped me cope during rough times, made me push myself and it brings me such great joy.
I ran 97 miles for the month of August... My highest monthly miles ever, and some of my happiest. To quote Forrest Gump ;) “I just love running.”
Do more of what He has given you that brings joy.