Running to Realize
I believe in running. It helps me escape physically and prepares me emotionally to return to where I ran from knowing it’s okay to go back; it’s okay to face my challenges, but only after I’ve been allowed to run away from them for a time. To some, running lends only physical consequences, a mere case of endorphins chalked up to a “runner’s high.” I run to experience something deeper. Running releases a power that comes from within, freeing me each time I strap my worn out, dependable shoes to my eager feet. I depend on my ability to run like I do my Nikes. Running protects me like a good pair of shoes, providing the support and stability I need when I go out alone. When I run, I enter a place all my own where no one can find me, except myself. It allows me to go away for while and let my thoughts pound in my head and heart like my feet on the packed earth. My thoughts become clear when I have completely, blissfully, exhausted my body. The numbing of my legs leads to sharpness in my mind and an openness in my heart.
I have been constantly running. During my sophomore year of high school, my older brother moved away to attend college. I felt alone and abandoned, so I ran. I felt better knowing that I was the one leaving people behind; they weren’t leaving me. I ran away from the loneliness and sadness, vowing never to stop until I no longer felt the pain in my legs or the ache in my heart. It was excruciating, and I sensed that the relief I sought lied in the exact object I was running from. My mind came to realize that no matter how far I ran, I could not run from the emotions that had surfaced. I had to go home, and running helped me prepare to go back to the challenges that I wanted more than anything to avoid. I had to let my feet, heart, and head help me go home.
To run is to live, and in my case, to live is to run. I believe in the pounding of my heart, the comforting rhythm of my feet along the road, and the knowledge that running will always lead me home.
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