When life gets tough, I run

Sometimes when I think my life is rough, I go running.  And as cheesy as it sounds, something about running makes me feel ok, makes me realize I’m fine.  It makes me feel blessed, in fact.  I go for a run feeling shitty inside, with a lot of conflict bouncing around and crowding within my brain.  But for some reason, everything is put into perspective for me when I’m outside running… Just me, the pavement, and my thoughts (with music playing in the background, of course).

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I feel blissfully happy at least a handful of times during my run.  You know…when everything just feels right all at once, and you just feel yourself smiling so big inside.  Not necessarily that rush of adrenaline feeling, but more like that calming, peaceful kind of happy.   The kind where everything just happens to feel right, dare I say perfect, if even just for a couple brief moments.  The kind that’s not meant to last too long…the kind that only lasts for a short period of time so that you appreciate it that much more when it happens to come along.  It’s hard to explain, because it’s triggered by different things for different people.  You know…that “happy place.”

I’ll just be running along, then all of a sudden, the right song comes on my iPod… I look up, and the palm trees just look so beautiful against the sky… and then all at once, a cool breeze just comes through.  It’s the best feeling in the world when you’re sweating like a pig, the sun’s beating down on you, the run’s getting tougher, you’re starting to struggle…    That cool breeze just feels like a gift.  For a couple of seconds, I feel like I’m flying.  I feel like I’m invincible.  And then, all of a sudden, I start to pick up my pace a little.  I close my eyes, tilt my head back a little, and hold it until the breeze leaves me, making sure I take full and complete advantage of it while it lasts.

I get really exhausted at certain points of my run.  I run the same route pretty much every day–same 5 miles of the same hills, same curves, same ditches that I run across every day.  So I usually know at what points of this routine path that I get tired at, usually the uphill climbs.  If it were me a year ago running this route, I probably would have stopped at all these hard parts, and started walking.  Right when I feel that soreness in my calves, or that numbness and tiredness in my feet, or that cramp in my side, I would walk.  I’d kind of make excuses for myself.  Like, “Oh, well it’s probably not very good for me to push myself hard on this hard surface with my back being as bad as it is anyways,” or, “It’s ok, I can walk a little, I’ve run a long ways already.”  It’s always something to reassure myself that it’s legit for me to quit and walk a ways.  But now when I run, it’s different.

I mean for one, I’m in much better shape and run a lot more often than I used to.  But now, even a couple months ago when I was just starting out, I wouldn’t let myself stop.  One day I just told myself, “Ok, what if I just pushed it a little more?…I think I can push it a little more.”  And I make that decision to do so, and I get through it.  And I find that I’m fine…I didn’t need to stop, I’m glad I didn’t.  At some points I’ll be extremely tired.  I know that this is the hill part, and in my head I’m like, “Oh hell no, not this part,” haha. But then I just get through it.  Even if my pace is getting slower and my steps get shorter, I just keep going.  And then later, especially at the “happy points” of my run that I described earlier, I get this second wind.  I pick up my pace a little…there’s a little more hop in my step.  I forget that I was even tired before and I feel like I could go another 10 miles.

And that second wind makes me feel even better– that second wind is why I love to run.  This may sound like a stretch, but getting through that seriously makes me feel like I can do anything.  I feel like a badass, to be quite honest, haha.  So next time I feel tired, feel completely exhausted and my muscles arescreaming at me to quit, I don’t.  Because I KNOW that I will reach the point where I will feel ok again, because I’ve been there before…I will get my second wind.  And I know how much sweeter it will feel when I get there.

Even when I change up my run, and decide to take a different path, I have this hope that somewhere along the way, (although I don’t know where yet, exactly) I’ll get my second wind.  Exerting the extra power to get there might wear me out, especially because I don’t know where or when exactly it will come.  But I just have this faith that it will come.  And even if it doesn’t, and I have to wait until I get home to feel at rest, I’m going to get there eventually.  Even if I don’t get to feel the high of my second wind today, I’ll get home eventually, and be ok.  Then I’ll just have to wait and try my luck tomorrow for that second-wind thrill.  Because even though I may only get to feel it for a couple minutes at a time, maybe a couple times total per every 1 hour long run, that very thrill makes the run entirely worth it.  It’s why I run in the first place.

I’m no crazy-awesome marathon runner.  I don’t time how quick I run by the mile.  I don’t care if a first grader could outrun me.  I’m not racing anything or anyone.  It’s this personal growth that I’ve made mentally throughout the process of these daily runs that has made it so rewarding.  They say it’s just the primitive motion of moving forward.  It’s true, it’s inspiring in a way.  It’s theraputic for me.  I feel shitty– I run.  I’m done, and I don’t feel shitty.  I feel the opposite, in fact.  I feel completely rejuvenated.  And it’s just that simple.

I love running outside.  Because as I’m running, I’m looking around, and I’m like, “Shit… it’s so beautiful out here.  God is THE MAN.”  Now, I’m not the most religious person out there, but God, Allah, the Great Mother Goddess… whoever is responsible for this, is amazing.  This is too amazing to just have been sitting there.  Somebody had to create it, somebody had to put thought into it all, because it feels like such a gift.  It’s so complex, yet so simple at the very same time.  I feel so lucky, I feel as though there has to be some sort of higher power, something responsible.  I’m not quite sure what I feel it is, but I know something’s out there.  Buuuuut, I won’t carried away into that topic…  No need to (yet).  Maybe another blog, another day, haha, back to the point…

Nature is so amazing to me–so soothing to enjoy as I run.  I appreciate it so much every day that I run.  I actually get to take the time out of the hustle and stress of every day to do so.

It makes me realize I’m lucky.  It slows things down for me.  I’m just thinking, Wow. Look at me…look at this sky.  Look at what I get to run beneath, and through!  And with and upon…  Look at what I get to see!  And it’s free, it’s all absolutely free, at my expense.  I can have it if I just take the time to recognize it.  But then again, it may not be like this tomorrow, so I better take full advantage of it today.  And if I don’t get this same blue sky, and instead it’s another filled with rain and gray clouds instead, I’ll appreciate that sky for all it is worth, as well.  When you’re able to appreciate something so simple in your life, it allows you to realize everything else you’re blessed to have.  It’s like, if you can appreciate one small blade of grass, or one drop of rain, imagine everything else in the world that you could begin to appreciate on a much bigger scale?  Puts things in perspective, I think.

This poem by E.E. Cummings seriously encapsulates EXACTLY how I feel when I run.  I read it, and I swear, it felt like he jumped in my brain during one of my runs, then traveled back in time to write this poem, haha.   I just think it is so beautiful:

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”

HELL YES.  Life is good, you know?

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