Get Lost // How Running Changed My Life

Hi Peaches! This next post was not an idea that I originally had for my blog, it is actually my most recent narrative essay that I had to write for my english comp class. I thought though, that since I just posted “The Habits Of Supremely Happy People” that it would be very relevant to share this essay on my blog right now. I have posted on here before about some of my trials and triumphs so people know that I have faced some things in my life and running is just one way that helps me on my journey of becoming a happier and healthier me. It pretty much takes care of habits  #4, #5, #7, #10, #15, #16,  and #17 on the list that I shared in my previous post so that is why I love it. This essay I also wanted to share not only because some could relate but because I also want to know what some other people do in their lives when they desperately need an outlet? How do you connect to God when he seems almost no where to be found?

Running And How It Has Saved Me…

It is six in the morning as I am tying my shoelaces. I quickly eat a banana, pin my number to my shirt, and do a few stretches. It is getting closer to 7am as two fighter jets fly over head and I can feel the energy in the air build. Holding hands with my grandma, mom, sister, and brother, we line up a few yards from the spray painted “start” line. We all look at eachother and ask “what did we get ourselves into?” but we don’t even have time to contemplate that question before the starting gun goes off and everybody starts moving. My adrenaline starts rocketing. It is so tempting to start sprinting just like the elites ahead of me, but I have to quickly remind myself that I am an amateur. This is my first time doing this and I am about to drag my body through twenty-six point two miles of hell, so pacing myself is pretty important.

Now I don’t think the magic of running a marathon is necessarily in the feat of completing the full twenty six point two miles on race day. Don’t get me wrong, because that is an accomplishment not to be undermined. The marathon is a very charismatic event. There is drama. There is the perfect amount of competition. There is camaraderie, seeing as it is a large group of people there for a whole day’s event that involves hours of self-inflicting pain and agony. Some might question borderline psychotic. There is even heroism. My first race I was running next to an eighty-seven year old man running his fiftieth marathon. I was fourteen running my first feeling like I was going to die. I looked at him and thought if he’s still here I guess I will make it too so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. But ultimately, I believe it is not all about the race; it is the five hundred plus miles of training that happened months before the race day. It is the countless feelings, frustrations and fears I have pushed through running down those abandoned and isolated trails. It is the connection that I make with every step with who I am in Christ and the communication that I make with God. You see I wasn’t born to be a runner but I am- and my life is far better because I quite frankly forced myself to be.

It is interesting how ourselves can most often be our own biggest critics. I always had loving and supporting family and friends growing up. Yet I grew up with these fears. This fear of disapproval. This fear of making mistakes. This picture in my mind that I had to be the best at everything that I did or else I was a failure. I believed that for some, success was easier to achieve than for others and didn’t understand why I was not one of those people. Why did I have to work so hard at everything I did and still not meet my own high expectations? I would have friends on the “A” honor roll and making the best sports teams while making it look so easy, I constantly struggled. I am also very fickle, my mind is never at ease so I have to keep myself constantly busy otherwise I might be alone with my own thoughts for far too long over thinking every little thing.

In high school I always had a lot of friends. I played three sports. I was involved in student council, speech team, yearbook, and youth in government. It seems I was subconsciously building this nice life…on the outside. But when I would take a moment, when I wasn’t so caught up in all these things, I would realize that maybe they also were aids to distract me from what was really going on in my life that wasn’t so noticeable. I did enjoy all of the things I was involved with, but towards my junior years things really started to take a turn. I didn’t make the sports teams I wanted to. I received lower grades than what I expected from myself. My parents divorced. I had several toxic relationships that I was in denial about. There was a point where I was very sick for a period of time and couldn’t even tell anybody about it. A lot of things that I found happiness in I couldn’t even find a light of joy. I questioned a lot in my faith. I questioned what I was even good for or to whom for that matter. That is when I really turned to running. I remember a specific time, that I was in a really big fight with a very close friend of mine. I pushed towards the door and bolted out sprinting. This run I remember more than any other. My heart pounding. I was running through regret and guilt. I was running despite who loves me or doesn’t. I was running through my dysfunctional family. I was running through loneliness. I was running through my own fits of self-doubt. I was running because at that point in time I chose to never be a girl who constantly thought of her struggles anymore but instead would only use challenges to grow stronger. To discover what my spirit is yearning for, to listen to what God is trying to say to me. I vowed to never feel sorry for myself again.

Running marathons just kind of came into myself, but becoming a runner, that was very intentional. I need running. At least an hour a day with just me, my running shoes, and God. Running can never tell me “you’re not good enough”. I can never cheat myself when I run. It is something that I get out what I directly put in. Running is my own, I decide what path I take, how long I run for and what pace. It gives me a state of mind “that anything is possible.” Now when I run I don’t think about the mile I’m on, the miles I’ve run, or the miles I have to run. I just get lost.

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