The weather was weird today; it was already blindingly bright at 8:30 AM--a hot sub-saharan like wind blew me along my five mile neighborhood route. I hoped this was summer's last arrogant display before more amiable fall running weather comes along. I was running with the new iPod. It was weird not being able to hear my breathing. I kept looking over my shoulder because I didn't want to be surprised by passing cars--I don't think I'm going to be one of those runners that relies too heavily on music--it's nice having the option though, but it makes me paranoid running alone without all my senses. I wasn't running especially well today, but I was really happy because I'm celebrating my five year running anniversary.
Running came along, accidentally, like a kindergartner asking God for special favors; I asked God to please get rid of my awful abdominal flab. I swore to stick with an exercise regime for one year because I knew God probably wasn't handing out overnight miracles to cranky fat redheaded moms. I was going to live by a progression, not perfection. I learned this in rehab. I learned a few helpful things in rehab, but just a few.
Running didn't enter my mind until I had been power-walking for awhile, then I thought, "What the hell, I'll just trot a little bit on this stupid treadmill to burn some extra calories." I think God helps those that help themselves. My arrogant prayer was answered and then some...Running has changed me profoundly from the outside-in. Running has been the medium to total transformation. I have reinvented myself into someone I like. I had severe thinking disease that made me think I was less than you. I compared myself to everyone and always came up short. I groveled and threw myself at people that were bad to me. My family and friends made me happy but when they went away...all I had was me and I didn't like myself one bit. Happiness came in brief fleeting moments, usually aided by drugs, alcohol, or sex but left me with guilt, anger, shame, and remorse that I wore like chains. I used to think a lot about dying...that it would be easier than living, but thank God I am someone that doesn't like to disappoint people.
Running took care of the abdominal blob quite nicely--melted away like butter. Now, I'm happy with my body and don't feel less than you and please slap me if I ever get the notion that I'm better...because I'm not, but I hope we are equals in this journey through life. I think differently today, but I had to learn it. I still fall into lapses of oversensitivity and negativity, but now I catch myself and reroute my thinking to more positive veins. I thank God also, for putting certain people in my path when I most needed--the other people I run with and my friends and family that understand my need to run--that it has been my path to happiness and being at peace with myself. May I always remain friendly and approachable, so I might be be there for them when they need me. Running has taught me that truly life is not about getting somewhere, the destination, but the journey. Unless...of course...you are running a race and then I hope you always reach the finish line smiling.