“Endurance athletes may not only be running away from something inside of themselves, but I believe they are also running towards a burning desire to discover something about themselves they never knew or dreamed imaginable.”
I started distance running about 2 years after my twins were born. There were so many people who thought raising 4 young boys and still getting up at 430 to train for a marathon was just pure crazy. I would always tell them that running was my sanity. It was the time and place that was all mine. And mine alone.
Since that first half marathon in 2008 I have completed 2 relays, 3 more halfs (one up a mountain), a few 5 milers, and as of yesterday 6 marathons.
The training season for yesterday’s marathon taught me a lot about why I run. I have been running for my sanity. I have run to escape the chaos of my home life. I have run to hash out problems within my mind. I have run to prove to myself that I am capable of pushing myself beyond comfortable limits. I have run because I love nature and find peace in my surroundings. I have run to have sunday morning socials with some of the best friends I’ve made in life.I have run because I seem to love endorphins. I have run because I needed all that it provided me.
This season I didn’t need running. Raising the boys has become less tiresome. This is the first season that I wasn’t struggling with the atrocities of religion and the desire to leave it. For the first time in my life I didn’t need to be pounding the pavement while arguing within my concscience to make decisions about leaving christianity. For the first time in a long time my mind is at peace. I know who I am. I know that I am strong and that I can achieve anything. I know how to handle adversity. And since I didn’t need those hours of painful miles alone to figure out the direction of my life I stopped running as much. I had nothing left to run from. And I had already discovered my possibilities.
I owe running so much gratitude. What started out as my angry response to my surroundings and an absolute need for solitudes turned in to a gift of passion, friendships, and freedom. Running became my religion and my savior.
But now my body is begging me to give running a break. My mind is telling me that these hours of early mornings alone need to be replaced with social endorphin resulting workouts. It’s a new stage in life. I’m more in need of people and relationships and less in need of my angel vs devil conflict resolutions. I will still run. I owe myself and running that. And I still need my best friend on sunday mornings but instead of running for 20 miles I think we’ll just run an easy 6-10 and then enjoy some huevos rancheros and iced tea 🙂
And I’m sure I’ll hit the pavement when I have issues to hash out again. It’s just a good way for me to clear my head and rationally reach conclusions. And I’m certain there are marathons in my future but if I’ve learned one thing over these years it’s to listen to myself. Stay true to my inner thoughts and feelings because I am the only one who can fully respect what I need.
Crossing that finish line yesterday was bittersweet. A sadness to temporarily say goodbye to such an important part of my growth and journey and a pure sweetness that in two weeks I’ll be working out at bootcamp with my brother and sister and many other motivated, endorphin seekers.
Get out and test your limits alone and see where the journey takes you. What conversations will you have with yourself when you have hours alone without distraction? What conclusions will you arrive at when you actually give yourself the gift of quietly working through your questions? What strength will you gain when you realize you are so much stronger than you had ever believed? How much richer will your life be if you give yourself the gift of endurance? What will you run from and what will you run to?