6 months ago I sat on a hotel room floor, crying my eyes out as someone who “loved” me told me that running was going to ruin my life.
I was informed that I was going to lose everything and everyone important to me, and that no one would ever love me if I didn’t give it up. I believe the words were “you’ll end up with a bunch of race medals and one night stands.” And besides, it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. It’s not like I would ever win or anything.
At that time, my self esteem had taken so many hits & cheap shots I didn’t know what to believe anymore. I hated life, I hated myself, and the one thing I sought comfort in was apparently the thing that was “ruining” me (and for what it’s worth, I was lucky if I logged 20 miles a week). I had dark thoughts I never imagined thinking running through my head.
I was lost and broken, in so many ways.
When I first left, 6 months ago, I was numb. Almost daily, my father would look at me, typically sitting on the couch completely unresponsive, and say “time for you to go for a run. Now. GO.” And so I would. And when I ran, I was still numb, but thanks to the endorphin rush, I would at least come back with a smile on my face.
As the months passed, the running and the working out progressed. Eventually, I had to leave the “zombie” phase and face the reality of my situation. There were times (still occasionally are) when the pain was too much to bear, and so I’d run. Or lift. Or burpee until I couldn’t see straight. And when my lungs were screaming and my legs were burning and my body physically hurt, it made it somehow easier to face the pain in my heart and my head. And when I was finally able to face that emotional pain, I could process it, work through it, and begin to move on.
Which brings me to this new chapter.
The past 6 months have taught me that I’m stronger than I’ve ever imagined. I’m capable of so much more than I dreamed of. That life can knock me down, things can feel totally hopeless, but I’m beginning to realize that I *will* get back up. The ever popular adage of “this too shall pass”, as well as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” ring true in my life daily.
But most importantly, bottom line, I’ve learned that life truly is an amazing, beautiful, blessing. And for that, I am incredibly thankful for the pain. Life certainly isn’t easy, but it is most certainly good, and I’m not sure I would appreciate it as much as I do if it were not for seeing and feeling the bad.
I know that I may have come to this conclusion with other outlets, just as many others do. Therapy. Prescription drugs. Faith (though that one has played a huge role). A number of possibilities. But me? I got there by running.
Yesterday, I ran my fastest half marathon, by a LONG shot. And every single time that tiny voice would creep up and try to tell me to slow down, tell me this was too hard, tell me to doubt myself, I was able to laugh it off and keep going. It may sound silly to those who have never been there, but those who have will know what I mean when I say crossing that finish line was one of the most empowering moments of my life to FINALLY squash those voices. I am “good enough”.
I’m realizing that while I am only human, and I am vulnerable, I am also strong. I am worthy. I am capable. I am beautiful. I can endure. I don’t need others to validate me, or to make me complete. I can be happy…with me. Am I 100% there yet? Of course not. Every day is a learning experience. And I am realizing SO much of this because I run. And I’ve never felt happier.
So quite frankly, you were wrong my friend. Running won’t ruin me.
Running saved my life.
|My new ink, dedicated to my 3 true loves. Rowen (R on the left), Kain (K on the right), and “the run”.|