I always hated running. I was the slow girl. The last one to cross the finish line and I barely made the time limits when running the mile. It’s not surprising, my dad was an all star football, baseball, tennis, anything with a ball really, athlete. He was a weight lifter and my brothers followed suit. My sister and I joked that we could tell the two of us out of a picture merely by the butt-we have our maiden name’s trademark: baby got back. But my behind isn’t the only large muscle on my body. My calves can make a gymnast jealous. Needless to say, this body isn’t made for speed. And it never has been. And I’m ok with that.
But about four years ago I started running. It actually started as a way to help control my PCOS. Get my body in shape and maybe my ovaries would catch the drift. Then, it became a huge way to relieve stress. Going from a couple, to instant parents of a seven-nearly-eight-year-old can add a little stress to your life. And running was my outlet. I could put my kiddo to bed, and jump out into the clear Montana air. Nothing was expected of me and there was a serene relaxation that I found in the cadence of my own steps, seeing my breath come out in puffs and hearing the soft beat of my music cheering me on. Slowly and surely, I got faster. I went from running a couple blocks at a time, to working up to my first 5K, an Easter run in which I came in nearly dead last. But that was ok-I did it. It was the first time I had ever finished a race, and I RAN it! After that I kept going. I worked up to 5 miles at a time and took joy in the way it made me feel. I wasn’t skinny as I had hoped I would be, but I was strong, and I felt powerful in a way I had never felt before. I have never ran a marathon, the farthest I’ve competed in is a 10K, but I’m alright with that. The beautiful thing about running is that I only have to compete with myself.
It’s like running opened a whole new world to me. A world in which I could leave the stress of the day behind and reconnect with myself, and with God. It gave my mind a chance to tune into some music while straightening out the knots of parenthood, work and graduate school. I run regardless of weather-bring on the snow or torrential rain. I run through injury and nap time, heartache and joy. I run because it makes me strong. I run because there are so many who can’t. I run.
On days like today, after the tragedy that has forever scarred Boston, my resolve is even stronger. I don’t understand the senseless violence. I cannot comprehend what would make a person/group believe that harming so many is alright. It angers me that they have harmed my pavement pounding brethren. And I will not forget. I run, because it makes me a better person. And now I run for Boston.
p.s.: I borrowed this picture from Hope Faith Love on Facebook