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January 2018
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"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." ~C. S. Lewis


PostHeaderIcon The gifts of running

Oh what running can offer! 2014 race season done. Ran a 12k today with a big ol’ cold. Remains to be seen if that was a good idea or not. This year I finished 9 races: 7 half marathons, a 10k and a 12k. Very few went how I planned.

Long ago it ceased being about proving the doctors (pulmonologists, rheumatologists and cardiologists oh my!), and others, and that ghost wrong. Or proving that I was good enough, strong enough, tough enough. It’s not even about proving to myself any more that I can do it. I got that a while ago, that yes, I can run. I run because I can. I run because I get to.

And I run now because it’s *not* about being “tough enough” or proving a dang thing. Even today I wanted to give up & give in halfway through. So I had to dig deeper than I prepared myself to do even with a cold. And I knew, as I fought it as I did, that in that moment and each moment that followed I was growing. Expanding. And I was in the experience, messy and ungraceful, but I was there. Even in the awkwardness of it all. Owning it. And recognizing yet again that perhaps, at least during a race, and in the broader sense, we are not alone.

Because hooey, when I fall in this big thing called life, I fall-down-go-boom. Everything from the stumble I hope no one saw as I surreptitiously look around and hop up again, to the spectacular swan dives, both forwards willingly and eyes-closed backwards didn’t-see-that-coming. And of course the rabbit holes I try to avoid and swerve around and still occasionally fall bruisingly down, unable to grasp anything stable along the way. That’s gonna leave a mark. Crazy life metaphors, this running.

4.5 years.
35 half marathons + 2 10ks, 2 12ks.
485.8 miles or 781.9 kilometers raced.
2 countries, 13 states (ok, 12 & DC), 24 cities.
Countless, and still counting, training miles.
Thousands of people, hundreds of stories, endless vistas.

No one can takes those finish line moments – both the actual and the even more amazing ones along the path – away. I don’t know what comes next. I do know I’m still learning. I’m still evolving. And running keeps me curious and aware. Keeps me breathing. (And clearly keeps me honest and wearing this heart on my sleeve.) My goal is to mine the experience to keep that curiosity expanding. Maybe just maybe I am learning to trust myself again. And show compassion, grace, forgiveness for all the falls I’ve taken and the ones yet to come. This is why I keep running. Maybe I’m redefining what running means to me, and can mean to others. I am most definitely redefining resiliency. Got some big work to do going forward!

There’ve been people who’ve shared with me they believe running is bad because it gives you too much time to think.
I don’t run to think. I run to feel.
I run to breathe. And then to remember to breathe again.

Each race is for the experience.
Each run is a gift I give myself.
Each step is for my life.
I’ll be forever grateful I decided to go for a run to prove something, and found something so very much more.

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