This weekend marks several significant events in my life. First, my birth. March 26th. I am 38 but I still feel 28. Second, my marriage. Five years. Several of them good. One of them terrible. That one is what started me on the path to the third – my running. This weekend marks the first anniversary of my very first run. I say ‘first run’ because it was the first one I did voluntarily. I remember posting on my facebook page that “I just ran 2 miles with nobody chasing me!” I was exceptionally proud of that run, and it opened the door for me to do it again, and again, and… well here I am.
I ran cross country in high school and hated every step. I did it because I was required to, in order to keep my bench position on the basketball team. It was something I suffered through. Shin splints. Cramps. Mental anguish. Running was synonymous with pain and suffering to me, and I intentionally avoided it for DECADES after that. And I didn’t really get off the bench either.
So on my 37th birthday, I gave myself a gift. Escape. I ran away from my demons, from my unhappiness, and from my ever-spinning brain. That first run was a last ditch effort to escape myself. And amazingly, I did. That was enough to keep me wanting more. Eventually I ran far enough that the difficult year that proceeded my running got fuzzy around the edges. I got back in touch with the “me” that knew where I wanted to go, and I gradually gained the ability to go there. I did it a few miles at a time, but the more I ran, the farther I got from where I didn’t want to be, and the closer I got to sanity. To happiness.
So today I celebrate my running and all of the other events that conspired to make me run again, and experience it anew. To enjoy the solitude and the control and the small successes that completing each run brings.
I have always been proud of the fact that, looking back at my life, there is very little I would change. I still feel that way. And running has helped me stay on that path. I will run, happily, for as long as my legs will carry me. For that I am sincerely grateful.
Stats for the year:
Over 1000 miles run
Two half marathons
PRs at every event
Celebrate each run. They are, all of them, victories over the rest of what life deals us.