Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Heart and Soul of Running



You may have seen a few posts about a Favorite Run. Amanda (aka Miss Zippy) came up with a wonderful idea about taking readers along with her on a run, basically sharing a favorite run. 

I have loved reading these posts. They simply make me smile. They remind me so deeply of what I love about running, what I love to the core of my being about it. If you haven't seen any of these, definitely check them out. Here are just a few:

Angela at Happy Fit Mama
Christine  at Love Life Surf
Debbie at Live from La Quinta

Thinking more about running, I mentioned briefly yesterday about Amy and I having a lengthy conversation about what running means to us, how it can literally save your life even. 

I thought I would talk about my Favorite Run in two parts. First, talking about what running means to me each time I go out. What it means to share that same passion with a friend as well. Not everyone really gets it. And that's ok. But runners like to share anyway. So here it goes.

As I had mentioned, Tuesday's run was hard. It was hot, humid, almost miserable. But it wasn't the worst run. How can that be? I wanted to quit a thousand times over. I cursed out loud a few times. I wanted to sit down and rest. My legs were lead weights. 

However, when I was running with Jason, then running with Amy, then running solo, I found things to enjoy about all of it. The weather sucked, but there is still beauty in the morning. There is still comfort in running with your spouse. There is enjoyment running with a dear friend. And there is peace and reflection running alone. 

I've said it before, but running makes me feel utterly alive. How can it not? You feel your body working, breathing, sweating, straining. You feel pain, you feel the work. But you also feel accomplished, satisfied, proud. You come to an agreement with yourself somewhere along the way, a resolve to keep going. 

You make pacts with yourself - let's just make it half a mile more, there's sprinklers two streets over, we can stop at the crosswalk. And you do those things. You make it another half mile, to the sprinklers, to that crosswalk. One foot in front of the other, you make it.

I honestly get chill bumps sometimes when Amy and I talk about running and what it means. Like me, she never felt like an athlete. Running makes you realize you are though. She has told me about one of her proudest moments in life - not the birth of her daughter, not graduating college - but that first time she got a medal placed around her neck. 

And I can relate. My proudest moment was crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. It's difficult to put into words the emotions that well up thinking about that sense of pride. I did it. Me.Myself.I. No one else could do that for me. And that's it - running is very much a personal sport. 

You can run together with friends, but ultimately, you're running for yourself. In the end, it's YOU that gets you through any run. Encouragement, great conversation, all of that helps of course, but I assure you Amy or Jason or anyone else isn't literally carrying me to the end of the run (but man that'd be nice sometimes). So there is an ultimate sense of pride in yourself.

Running has been my saving grace from depression and anxiety. I also believe running helps with my asthma, building stronger lungs along with a stronger heart - and a stronger heart both literally and figuratively as in a I have more heart, more feeling, more love even. 

Running is my "zen" time. Even running with someone else, I'm able to just let go of the world. It's like running and shedding a skin of negativity at the same time - it's trailing behind me, lost in the wind. Sometimes I can even envision this happening, feel it peeling away. And then the ultimate feeling of being lighter. It's the best way to start the day too. You start off feeling peace. And it can help relieve stress after a hard day of course. You just pound out that frustration on the pavement. Stomp it, smash it, smear it and then leave it behind.

What does running do for you? Tomorrow I plan on taking you along on a run (good excuse to stop and take pictures too).