Mostly, I run because I feel I need to.
In the last humid exhales of August last year, the urge to run struck me. As someone who enjoys peaceful, fun exercise, like walking, yoga and dance, running was an unlikely choice. It seemed violent by comparison. Painful.
And yet—the urge persisted. With curiosity, trepidation and some wheezing, I began.
I kept going.
A year later, this is why I still run:
Running helps me practice staying in the moment and in my body.
If I am planning on running for three miles and my mind begins chattering and complaining in the first quarter mile, I am done for. It’s the same with the rest of life. If I focus on how far I have to go with parenting or with my career, I get stuck and overwhelmed. But if I focus on filling my lungs with the sticky summer air and touching my feet to the earth, one step at a time, I am just fine.
I run for the little girl still crouched deep inside of me.
The one who got picked last for dodge ball in gym class. The one who used her asthma and sinusitis and scoliosis—all of which were very, very mild—to escape gym class in middle and high school. I run for her, because she thinks she can’t.
I run for the woman I am now.
It is fast and efficient and it fits into the fullness of my middle-aged life. My kids will never see the me who thought she couldn’t run. I will tell them stories of her, but they won’t meet her.
I run for the old woman I hope to become.
So she can close her eyes and remember the burn of her muscles beneath her crinkly skin. So she can recall the sweet velocity. So she can know that she used her body up, that she lived and loved in it well.
Mostly, I run because I feel like I need to.
Because some electric energy in the universe was whispering to me to pick up the pace and mix things up and I listened to that call. Because I can still surprise myself. Because it feels so good when I’m done.
And because once in awhile, when just the right song comes on and I can feel my own warm breath and full lungs, my thick muscles and rushing blood all churning, my little girl and my old lady and my right now self all inside of me, I know that we’re just where we’re meant to be.
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Assistant Ed.: Stephanie Sefton/Ed: Bryonie Wise