It’s a hot, sticky morning. There are a few clouds in the sky, but they fail to block out the blazing sun. Sweat beads on my forehead as I press on, my feet making a rhythmic pitter-patter on the hot asphalt. But I don’t even care too much about the heat. I know I have miles left to go, and that’s OK. I’m in my happy place. I’ve looked forward to this Saturday long run all week.
If you follow me, you know that photography is one of my passions. And so is running! My running career had a rather odd beginning, which was around five years or so ago. It started not long after I began exercising with a group of friends. Another good friend (a runner, of course) suggested that I might enjoy running. So I did some run/walks on my own. It was hard, but I found the sessions to be rewarding. OK, back to my exercise group. We made a pact to walk the Ortega River Run. FIVE long, tedious miles through historic Ortega. While I walked most of it, I managed to run a little bit. After the race, I was excited to discover that I could look up my name and time for the run online. I was horrified that, in my age group, I was DEAD STINKING LAST. If you know anything about me, last place is totally unacceptable. I knew I wanted to keep running, and I determined that I would not be last again!
Over the past few years, I’ve grown to absolutely love running! Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Have I battled injuries? Absolutely. Some have been minor; the worst was a stress fracture in my tibia. Do I ever want to quit? No. Sometimes I can’t run as much as I would like (due to injury or a crazy schedule), but I keep pressing forward because I know I am a better person when I run regularly.
The title of this post is “Thank You Running” because I’ve seen so many good things come about in my life from regularly hitting the pavement. I often have very stressful days, and I get to detox during my runs. I don’t listen to music, and that gives me a chance to think and pray to God a lot. I really enjoy deepening my relationship with Him because I have an extended time to focus. In addition, I’ve had some of my very best ideas while running. “Running doesn’t build character–it reveals it,” has become one of my favorite quotes. Goals for myself are more than just wishes. I can commit to something and do what it takes to make it happen. I know I have the self-discipline to keep training, even when I don’t feel like it that particular day. This has precipitated into other areas of my life–my work, my family, and my faith.
So, with a full heart, I say, “Thank you running!”
P.S. I know that not every can run. And not everyone that CAN run enjoys it like I do. But find something good for you that you love. Find your happy place. The reward is huge!