Saturday, August 22, 2015

Run It Out

Sometimes it's easy to forget why you fell in love with something.

Whether it's a person, a sport, a hobby…  We all have those moments when you really look at something you've been staring at blindly for years and suddenly think wait, how did this get here?

Even though I've been running on and off for most of my life, and pretty intensely for the past five years, I still have days where my run is awful, my body aches or I just don't want to. After my marathon I kind of felt like I didn't want to run for a while, because I'd been doing so much mileage for so long. The thing about these moments, though, is that you can push through them. When you do, you often get a huge dose of OH RIGHT THIS IS WHY. Knowing this, I kept running and kept training for things and I remembered how much I love running for what it is. It's fun to go fast, to go far, to go hard and to push yourself, but there is also something so beautiful about just running to exist in the state of it, to just be running. So many people see running as tough, competitive and just plain hard. Don't get me wrong, it can be all of these things; but it doesn't have to be.

Anyone can run.

Anyone can experience what it means to be a runner, because all you have to do is let your legs carry you a little faster than they do walking you across the street.

Don't run because you feel like you have to. Because you want to lose weight. Because someone told you to. Because someone paid you to.

Run from something. For something.
Run to press your fears out of your mind, to crush every time you've heard "no" or "you can't".
Run to chase your dreams, to think and ponder.
Run to give yourself the time to breathe, the time to exist in each moment.

Don't focus on how far you've gone or how far you have to go. Forget about how athletic you look, how flashy your clothing is.

Run to find yourself.
Run to take in your surroundings, to watch afternoon sunlight bounce off buildings
to let the rain glue your t-shirt to the skin on your back.
Let your run encourage you to fight massive hills
so you can rush down the other side, exhilarated as your feet start flying beneath you.
Run so the sun can hit your back and draw out rivers of sweat,
so you remember what it is to be human.
Run to feel big, to feel huge and incapable of failure.
Run to feel small, to embrace the enormity of the universe that surrounds you.

Run without judgement, but with feeling. Run without hating it; fall in love with the struggle.

I'm not saying every step is going to be easy.
There will be times when it hurts like hell.
If you want to run long, if you want to run hard, it will hurt more. That's just a fact.

But you are stronger than you know.
You can last a minute, a mile.

It'll be worth it, every step
for the serenity you'll find,
the heightened sense of emotion,
the occasional but inevitable suffocating defeat
linking arms with elation and pride.

The thing about running is that you have to carry it all with you-
it's a concentrated reflection of our day-to-day lives.
During the day we laugh, we cry, we love and we lose. But in our ordinary lives we can ignore things.
We can pretend we're not hurting,
wear masks and tell everybody it's okay while we smile.

When you're running it all comes out.
Your fears bubble up to the surface but don't be afraid, because here they burst and are released.
You are free, weightless, stronger, lighter.

When you run you are given the chance to face your fears and your dreams…
you are given the chance to conquer both.

Why not take it?

If you're a runner, you probably understand this already. Whether or not you can put it into words, you understand the way running affects something inside you, something no other activity seems able to do quite the same way.

If you're not a runner I to encourage you to try it, to believe that running is not the devil of all sports.
You don't have to go buy running shoes and a sports bra and a Garmin.

Just take a few steps.

Go, now, open your front door and pull it closed beyond you.

Now run.

Take off down the street.

Doesn't matter whether you sprint or jog, doesn't matter who's watching.
Nothing matters but you, and your run.

Go as long as you want, as far, as hard, as soft.

Let yourself expand. Inhale, fresh air, exhale, happiness.

Don't you feel free?

Try it again tomorrow. The day after. Next week.

Try it when that guy you had plans with bails on you, when your grandmother reminds you she was already married with children at your age. When your dog dies, when it's cloudy and grey, when you get a raise at work or when you find out your best friend is coming back to town.

Run to find your emotions and let them play out however they're meant to.

Run and run and run, and on the hard days, push through and remember
why you tried it.
Remember why you maybe, just a little,
fell in love.

Why the hell not?

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