Side note: Similar to my Why I Run post
In life I feel like all I do is rush. I’m rushing to get to work, I’m rushing to get the kids out of the car, I’m rushing to get dinner ready so they don’t jump out of their seats, I’m rushing to get to target, I’m rushing to get the parking spot so the other person doesn’t get it, I’m rushing so that my husband doesn’t get mad because he has to leave. But when I run I don’t have to rush. It’s just me and the run. I get to run as fast or as slow as I want. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get stuck in my own head because I want to beat a certain pace, but man when I run, it’s the most freeing feeling. I’m free from the everyday chaos. I’m free from rushing.
They say it takes 30 days to become a habit. Some say it can be an addiction. Running is that for me. It’s not that I need to run because I want to lose weight and all this fat. I crave that feeling of being free and alone with myself. Sometimes I talk to God- really really loud and really really winded. Actually most of the time I talk to God. Sometimes I reason with my Gramps and all the angels. Once I even asked my Gramps to show me a sign he was there and I found a dollar bill. He had a dollar bill framed in his basement near his pool table.
Most of you who know me know that I suffer from anxiety and ebbs and flows of depression, like most of us really. I’ve written about it before- Wellbutrin, Prozac, Celexa, Atenelol for tachycardia, etc. I’ve tried them all. My anxieties would cripple me- I would rush so much I couldn’t breathe. Rush for what? I have no idea honestly. I would become paranoid and thin everyone was looking at me or judging me when in reality no one really cared. I would have uncontrollable bad thoughts- like my dog getting hit by a car or Howie getting in a car accident. I would pick apart every part of my body and become obsessed. I would negative self-talk. I would binge eat sweets and then not eat the next day. I would obsess over little things then google the shiz out of them. I’m not a drinker but I remember drinking til I blacked out twice- once when I found out the love of my life was cheating on me and found all her texts, pictures and all, and the other time after he left and moved back home and I knew I would never ever see him again. I let those moments define me and the rest is history. I labeled myself as an anxious random panic attacker in class, sometimes depressed girl- not even a woman. I never even looked at myself as that.
College allowed me to discover myself, anxieties, flaws and all. One person in particular saved me and killed me all in the same sentence. But for that I’m thankful.
I’m 34 years old and not one person has saved me or killed me. I saved myself. I did. I discovered running and like most people, I hated it. I couldn’t even run a mile without getting out of breath and blamed it on my asthma. I ran my first 5k and shortly realized it wasn’t about beating the other runners but setting a goal for yourself and completing it. I started running a little more and boom, those 30 days became a habit and then became an addiction. I need my runs like a diabetic needs their insulin. The feeling after the run is completed is like a reset button and makes the rest of the day conquerable. If that run is done, I can’t explain it but I feel like I can conquer anything. Like I’m on a high.
In countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, official guidelines include exercise as a first-line treatment for depression.
Everyone gets sad sometimes and that’s okay. For me, it was debilatating. I couldn’t escape my own head. I run for me. Not the elite runners in the front or anyone else. Me. And this summer at 34 years old, I am in better shape emotionally and physically than I ever have been in my whole life.
I have let go of who I thought I should be and embraced who I am. Of course I am still figuring it out, but I am so happy. I am so unbelievably grateful to have summers off to restore and reset. I am working on my rest days, but building up pace runs and incorporating strength- which is my weakness ! As a runner all you want to do is run, but cross training is part of the process as well as much needed rest days.
Running has saved my life. It grounds me. It’s free.
This summer I am my best self. My 30s have been good for me and sometimes that scares me for the future, but I know I got this. You don’t need to run for pace or kill yourself while running, but perhaps find something that is active to help release the baggage in your head. Set a goal and smash it and see how you feel. Do something for 30 days and see if it becomes a passion. Life is about discovering and creating passions. Do you. No one else is you. God made you, every flaw, every loose skin stretch mark, every freckle, every worry and heart ache, every scar, every fat roll, every part of you. Don’t change it. Change your mind. Your heart is you and all you have to do it ignite.
Be your best self. Discover your happy place.