the freedom of running…

i went for a run for the first time in almost a month this morning. part of the break was due to me biking 12 miles a day and part of it was simply me being lazy. it has been HOT outside and i didn’t want to be getting up at 630 to go for a run. however, as i ran my one mile today, i simply let everything slip away. my worries, my anxieties, my thoughts about the future, even the story line of the series i’m reading right now (less than a book left!).

i find that my running is one of the most healing things i do. i absolutely love to run but i hate when pressure is put on me to perform beyond what i feel like performing. i am planning on signing up for a 5k. in fact, i’m going to research it as soon as i’m done here. the fact is, i need a goal to work toward. at first, my goal was simply to get in shape. and that worked for a couple months. then the motivation fell away. probably because i was about to get married, school was picking up, things were simply getting crazy. of course, the logical thing to have done at that point would be to hold on fiercely to my running time, my escape time, my time to relax and let my mind wander to wherever it wants to go. to focus on the burning of my out of shape lungs, to focus on the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement, the sound of my breathing. to really listen and hear the world go on around me. to watch other people do the things they do with their own time.

running is my sweet escape from life. i have no one yelling at me to go faster, longer, harder, more. i go when i want, i stop when i want and i arrive back home feeling completely refreshed. at least mentally. physically, my lungs may be burning, my legs tight and weak, my shoulders sore, and a sideache. i may feel that it’s the worst run i’ve ever done and i may think of all the things i didn’t do before my run that i should have, like eat and drink. in spite of all of that, though, my mind is refreshed. my mind is proud of my accomplishment to go out there and do it. my mind pushes me to run to my limits and then even a little farther, but as soon as i’m home, my mind is the first to congratulate me, tell me a did a good job, be proud that i got out there and did something.

i keep time just so i can know where i am as compared to where i want to be. i watch my times fluctuate from really great to pretty ok and the great thing about keeping that time is that i am seeing the numbers slowly go down overall. the slow times are still faster than the previous slow times. the fast times are still faster than the previous fast times. i don’t want to analyze anything at this point. honestly, i don’t know that i ever will want to, but i know this for sure: i love having this record. even when it shows i haven’t run for a month. even when it shows i’m slow. even when, even when, even when… i still love it. i love to see my dedication to the commitment i made four months ago to start running.

i’ve already done a 5k this summer that i didn’t ever plan on doing. maybe for this 5k i’m going to research, i’ll see if i want to push to do a 10k. i don’t know if i’m really ready for that yet. i know i can run a 5k no matter how out of shape i am. i can finish one. maybe i’ll stick with small and continue to enjoy my running, continue to enjoy my time in the fresh air, out on the road, out by myself, doing my thing. i know that one day, the burning in the lungs will once again disappear as they get into shape. i know that my energy level will go up, my mind will be sharper, i will be healthier and better. i will have that something that allows me to refocus, rejuvenate, recenter. i will be able to clear my mind to focus on the tasks at hand and encourage me to continue along this path – to do well in school, to do well in leading a life group, to do well in my friendships and marriage, to do well in life.

i’ve never understood how this works. i don’t necessarily understand how pushing one’s body like this is such a great way to unwind and relax. something tells me that it should be the opposite – exercise puts a lot of stress and strain on the body. i know that it also allows the body to be stronger, it releases endorphins, helps clear out toxins and regulate bodily systems. perhaps that is the secret. perhaps exercise is somehow the body’s reset button too. once it’s been pushed, it’s able to reset and refocus as well with proper rest and cooling down. perhaps it’s all just a trick of the mind too, but somehow i doubt that. all i know, is that i love this sport and i’m so glad that i’m able to engage in it with relatively little difficulty and that the love is still there. the desire to run is still in my heart and as long as that’s there, you’ll be able to find me out on the road, listening to my breathing and the pounding of my shoes feeling the stress of this life sweat out my pores. you’ll still find my mind to be my greatest encouragement and my greatest motivator. you’ll still see a hint of a smile at the end of a run. i’ll be there.


2 thoughts on “the freedom of running…

  1. Renee says:

    I’ve never been able to sit down and breathe and think on a phrase or whatever and meditate. But exercise clears my head and gives me all the things meditation is supposed to.

    I’m not a runner, but I do pretty much everything else. It’s wonderful!

  2. Maaaaaam says:

    I’ve gotten to where I really, truly love running. I’m learning to ignore the “watch” and just get out there. I am thankful for Joni of Miami Lakes, FL who gave this quote to Dove Chocolates (chocolate is good for something!!)
    “Be proud to just run the race, no matter the finish.” I need to be in that place…..and I’m slowly getting there. I love that no matter how far I go (or short I go) I’m doing more than most people will ever do. And for that – I’m grateful! And yes, it does put everything in perspective for some reason. Life seems easier after a run or bike ride than it did before. I love that God gave us the ability to do this………and the desire in the heart to do it.

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