It's been a rough spring for me, in case you haven't noticed. Personal loss, mental illness, professional set-backs. I am really looking forward to the summer of 2013 with hope. Through all this trouble, my one faithful companion has been running. When it seemed like every other rug in my world was being pulled out, I always knew I could lace 'em up and hit the road. Running has become more than exercise, more even than therapy for me. It has become my touchstone. When things are at their worst for me, running has reminded me just how much I love being alive.
When I learned that my friend was going away, I spent a couple of days holed up in tears, then I went for a run. I ran so hard and so long that I wound up in the ER with dehydration... but running reminded me that I was still strong, even without Coach.
When it seemed like my fundraiser was going to crash and burn under the weight of my emotional breakdown, I went for a run. I ran 28 miles one day and people were inspired to give so generously that we not only reached our goal, we surpassed it.
When I felt my friend's pain as she lay critically ill in a nursing home with a relapse of the cancer she thought she had beaten years ago, I wrote her name on my bib and went for a run, busting a new Marathon PR and lifting her spirits along the way.
Yesterday, the weight of all the grief and loss and changes and frustrations seemed ready to crush me. There are times when I am so close to despair that I could almost give up. Instead, I went for a run. Nice and slow. Hot and humid. More of a jog, really. I heard the birds, felt the wind and the sun on my face and legs. The tap of my feet on the pavement kept time as the music of my breath drew me along. Gritting up hills. Smiling at strangers. Loving every second of what seemed to be a terrible life just an hour before.
That's what you've done for me lately, Running. You've kept my heart beating. Helped me blow off steam. Let me taste the air mixed with clean, salty sweat on my lips. You got me through the rain and mile 26. You got me out of my bed, off my ass, and out the door. You reminded me that there is a God who loves me and who in the middle of all this loss is still giving me one precious gift... life... and the ability to run toward it.
Thanks for the reminder, old friend. It's a Great Day for a Run.
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