Running has always been an outlet for me. A runner’s high is a real thing, believe it or not. After a run, I feel empowered, confident, and all in all, happy.
In high school, I ran cross-country and the distance races in indoor track and outdoor track competitively. These teams were by far my favorite part about high school, and I could not imagine those four years without them. They allowed me to manage my time, and learn the power of hard-work and goal setting, and most importantly, meet some of my best friends.
There were times, however, that I let my mind be carried away instead of my legs.
I appreciate the discipline high school athletics gave me–whether that meant going to bed at 8:00 on a weekend night or spending my Friday afternoon drinking recovery smoothies (often with my teammates) in order to rest before a race. But especially early on in my running career, I let the pressure of excelling get the best of me.
Most of my time was spent thinking about my last race–what could I have improved upon? How could it have ended differently? I thought about my next race–what was my strategy? Who would be in the race? Was I prepared? Sometimes I let the stress take over my love for the sport and the atmosphere.
I mean, I was lucky enough to do what I loved every single day all the while being surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world. These people saw me at my absolute worst and when I was on Cloud 9; together we lived through each other’s disappointments and accomplishments, and we accepted each other for both.
As senior year set in, the realization that this lifestyle would not last forever did too. There was no room for worry about races because the spot I was at in my life was a blessing, as is every spot, whether we know it at that time or not.
I digress, but the point is coming soon, I promise…
Often times we feel a burden on us when we know we should be exercising, but the key is to find something you love. When you do, you will be running away from your troubles instead of feeling like you’re adding more weight to your shoulders.
Running, along with countless other forms of exercise, has always been my escape. It serves as my chance to clear my head and ground myself rather than get carried away by all of the complications that life holds.
This year, during my freshman year of college, I ran with Nora, who came to be a close friend of mine. She exposed me to a type of running that was foreign to me–running just because. Running because it’s good for us, running because it makes us happy. I have always done this, but there was always an underlying concrete goal that focused me. And sometimes it strayed me away from my love of it. Nora and I connected so much while on our runs; we talked and talked, about the difficulties we faced, about what we loved about school, about life in general. These conversations were a huge part of what made my transition to college so seamless. They put everything into perspective.
Now I am home for the summer and I have decided to begin training for a marathon. During my first run, the feelings of anxiety about how much training I would have to complete began to consume my mind … and I realized right away. Right then I made a conscious decision to enjoy the journey. After all, I’ll never get this time back. I am so lucky to be able to train for something as special as a marathon. I’m not going to waste time thinking too far ahead; instead, I think I’ll feel happy that I’m doing what I love.
Not everyone likes running and that’s okay! But there are so many ways to be active, and I encourage you to search for one that raises you up and makes other aspects of your life so much more manageable. It is the most wonderful feeling when what makes you happy also makes your mind and body happy.
Run away from troubles, not into them!
A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.