Hey! Happy Friday!
I just got back from a 6 mile run. It was one of those days where I was just feeling really good during my run. Don’t you love days like that?
I have yet to master the whole, “take a non-blurry photo whilst running,” thing.
Hahaha. What is a constant pace? Obviously I don’t know. See that 8:27 mile? Let’s make that happen more often during my easy runs.
Now, I’m just enjoying yet another smoothie bowl and watching The Hills (they put it on demand on Verizon and I am so stoked). Yay for lazy summer mornings! Trying to enjoy the last few easy days I have left before I start my job!
So, as promised (not that you probably even care… but let’s pretend that you do!), today I want to share my running story with you.
Once upon a time…
No. Not starting out my story that way.
Anyway, there really is no concrete beginning to my story. I could tell you about how I ran track in middle school and that I have always been super active, but that’s actually not all that relevant to my story. I think my, “running story,” is less about when I started running and more about when I made the transition from just being someone who ran, to being a runner.
As I have mentioned briefly before on this blog, I have a history with an eating disorder. I don’t want this post to become my eating disorder story (although, if anyone has any interest in it, I will definitely make a post about it), and want to keep the post about running, but my eating disorder actually had a major role in why I began running in the first place.
My eating disorder manifested into the lethal monster that it was during my Sophomore year of high school. By March of that year, I was in the hospital with a dismal heart rate and a dangerously low body weight… It wasn’t good.
The day that I was released from the hospital, my dad was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer… He passed away less than two weeks later.
So, here I was, a sick 16 year old with her world not only flipped upside down, but shattered completely.
I was at a loss. I needed to gain weight and recover, I had promised my dad that I would. At the same time, I was dealing with the grief of losing my father and watching my family unravel. Needless to say, I was having a hard time. I was also used to dealing with stress and anxiety by using exercise as an outlet. I wasn’t allowed to exercise (doctor’s orders), and I could feel myself spiraling further and further downward.
So what did I do?
I signed up to try out for my high school’s cross country team (by the time of tryouts, I had been cleared for exercise).
Why on earth would I do this? It seemed insane. I had always been an active person, heavily involved in dance, swimming, equestrian, soccer, and basket ball for what seemed like forever. However, I had always had myself convinced that running was the one type of activity that I absolutely hated.
So why cross country? I’m embarrassed to admit the reason…
If I was spending every day in school from 7-4 and then going to practice after school and working out for a few hours, all without really having time for food… Surely I would lose weight.
I know. Disgusting. I’m not proud.
Admittedly, I didn’t really expect to even make the team. I barely ran, even during my training for tryouts. I swam and cross-trained, but I only got a couple 3-6 mile runs in during the week, all at less-than-impressive paces.
So… the day of tryouts came, and well… I made the team. Not only did I make the team, but I did well. I was among the top 20 (a lot of girls tried out) girls who finished, and I wasn’t even a runner. Like, what?
Then there came this feeling, one that I was unsure if I had ever really felt before.
I felt good about myself.
Instantly, I was hooked.
I found myself completely devoted to cross country. It was all I thought about, all I talked about. It was my life. It gave me something.
It gave me hope.
I ran for my last two years of high school and made some of the most amazing friends and ran some of the most exciting races of my life. There are so words to even begin to describe how greatly my life was impacted by running.
Running gave me something to strive towards and look forward to in my life when it felt like there was nothing left but darkness. Running gave me a reason for being, as crazy and overdramatic as it sounds. Running showed me that it’s ok to be proud of yourself and to take pride in something. Running showed me how to listen to my body and has helped me re-learn how to trust my own body, instead of trying to destroy it.
Running has given me hope.
And that is what running means to me, I could go on… But I will spare you.
Thank you for reading.
Do you run? What does running mean to you?
If you don’t run, what in your life gives you hope?