I remember when it happened.
When I "fell in love" with running, that is.
Now, I couldn't tell you the exact day or month because, well, I'm just not a detail person. I never have been.
But, I do recall the deliciousness of the EXPERIENCE itself.
I went out for one of my first "runs" in the great outdoors. Again, I was still new at this and as fairweather as a runner can get. So, you can imagine how nice of a day it had to have been for me to "brave the elements".
I was alone on this particular day; that much I can tell you. I started the run from my house. It was a bright, sunny day with clear blue skies. I shuffled along, taking in the scenery while enjoying the beautiful weather. It just felt better and better as I ran. I don't know how fast I was going or how far I went, but I do know that I felt "IT" for the first time.
The Runner's High.
Truthfully, I thought it was a myth. You know; just a little something that OCD, Type A Personalities made up just to make you feel like crap for being a couch potato. And, may I say, I was no stranger to endorphins as I had been exercising on a regular basis for about a decade. But this felt...different. Being outside gave me a sense of freedom that no indoor workout could ever provide. I felt connected to the earth in a way I had never experienced before. I felt like it was just me and nature...if I may say, it almost felt like I was at one with The Universe.
It felt pretty freaking good. I'm not exaggerating even a LITTLE.
I was a believer.
Fast forward several years and close to 100 completed road races later, six of which are marathons, I can still remember that day.
I can sit and recall that memory like it happened last week.
It's what keeps me going day after day.
Am I going to sit here and say that every run feels like that? Absolutely not!
2009 ING Hartford Marathon DNF, anyone?
However, the memory of that first joyous fix carries me through the extreme heat, cold and lonely miles. It gives me the strength and courage to lace 'em up and get back at it, even when I have a string of "less than stellar" runs. It reminds me that what I am doing transcends the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other.
It's like meditation in motion. It involves my mind, body and spirit.
I feel empowered.
As I write this, I'm in the midst of a break from training. For now, it's what my body needs to stay healthy. So, I'm honoring it.
Has it been easy? Not really.
I've had moments of sadness, apathy, anger and frustration. But, those emotions are indicators. They are useful and show me what I need to do in order to feel better. I won't ignore them.
Instead, I'm going to reach for the best feeling thought I can find.
I'm doing other things to maintain my fitness.
I'm so grateful that I CAN do other things.
I have two arms and two legs that work.
Not everyone can say that.
I can say that.
Nothing lasts forever.
This won't either.
I am excited to get back on the roads again.
I will get back on the roads again.
Once a runner, always a runner.
Eight years and counting.