Running. It’s a metaphor for so many things; running from something, running to something, running for something. We are always running. I was always running. I wasn’t always running for the right reasons. When I was younger, my parents got divorced. My first instinct was to run away; run to something happier, somewhere full of love and commitment. This notion of running was instilled into my lifestyle, into my thinking and being. I only knew how to run.
For as long as I can remember, I ran from my feelings, from anything that scared me. I put up a front, and pretended to be happy. I let myself run for so long that I lost who I was, and what my purpose was in this crazy life. Then, after years of unhappiness I decided to run towards something, to find my why, my purpose, and myself.
My first race was in my education. I ran a crazy fast paced race through university and student teaching. Coming out on top with a 4.0 and nailing a job within weeks of graduation. Choosing to run such a deep race, without any training, was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. I worked full time, kept a roof over my head, and went to college. I was the first person in my family to obtain a degree. I felt unstoppable. But I was still destructible. I was still missing that one piece.
I gained weight, I lost weight. The stress of life and responsibilities was wearing me down and I didn’t know how to find my pace in life. I met my husband, and he helped me stop running from love. He changed my life for the better. He gave me a purpose. He made me a wife, something I wanted more than anything in the world. But getting married, and landing a teaching career still wasn’t enough to make me feel whole. Something was still missing. I was missing the love for myself.
It took years of soul searching to find myself. I tried the gym, workout videos, and some bizarre diet fads, but nothing gave me that moment. That moment where you finally feel like you are enough, just the way you are. Then I found running. It wasn’t the answer I needed right away, but after two years and a round of marathon training, I have finally run to myself. It was an 8 mile training run, near the beginning of my marathon journey, when I finally came to my own. I couldn’t tell you what exactly brought my self worth to fruition, other than the constant defeat of the world around me being cast to the side, as I placed one foot in front of the other. Or the countless thoughts running ramped in my mind. But on that trail, somewhere between giving up, and proving I was more than I felt, I ran to myself.
I was robed in a new confidence. A confidence that has since stayed intact, close to my heart. I turned a new leaf. A leaf veined with positive thoughts, self-worth, and unstoppable determination. Now that I have run to myself, I continue to run, to remain happy and healthy. I run to inspire others to find themselves. I run to keep living.