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It’s hard to explain running to a non-runner.

Posted Feb 22 2010 12:00am

It’s something that you either get or you don’t. The best thing about running is that it can be so many different things to so many people from any walk of life. It’s not only for the young or only for the old. It’s something that will stick with you year after year. It becomes a part of you.

I didn’t know any other runners when I started. I didn’t have any running shoes or running gear or appropriate clothing. I don’t even know exactly why I started. I just walked outside one day… and ran.

Those close to me know that I’ve been through quite a bit in my life. I’ve had to fight through a lot, with almost no one in my corner. The day I started running was one of my roughest. I literally wanted to run away. But the further I went, the more things became clear. Solutions presented themselves. It suddenly didn’t seem so bad. The road eventually led me back home, and I felt I had enough to face one more day.

The next day I ran again. And again. I got faster. Stronger. I learned to focus on my future, pounding out plans and dreams every time my feet hit the ground. I would get up early. Saw hundreds of sunrises – each one more magnificent than the one before. I started exploring trails, and lost the fear of getting lost. I ran hills, and lost the fear of what lay over the horizon. I learned to be brave.

I bought running shoes. Fuel belts. Anything that would keep me going further and faster. I hardly took the same route twice. I felt like I owned the city. I ran past office buildings. Through cemeteries. Around the perimeter of the lake until I could go no further. I found hidden trails and towering trees and secluded streams. I ran through wind and snow. I’d sometimes come home drenched in rain and mud, thoroughly exhausted. But my eyes would be bright. Cheeks flushed. Muscles strong. And vision clear.

Today when I run, regardless of what I’m going through, all is well. My life sorts itself out. Ideas are born, and I find the tools to make them reality. My mind races, yet I feel calm. My legs move quickly, yet I feel still.

While some run as a social activity, I always run alone. Still others run to stay healthy, but for me it’s more like a survival tactic. I run because it makes me invincible.

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