Often, when I’m not occupied, negative thoughts tend to creep into my head. Lately, they’ve been telling me that I’m lonely, need a man (eh maybe), and that I’m not treating my body right. My anxiety has slowly been creeping back to uncomfortable levels. However, when I sit and think, I know that none of these are true – and most of it is because of running. Yes, it may seem cheesy.
I started my second running journey about 6 months ago, and it has changed me so much. In fact, it has been quite a marvelous adventure so far.
Marvelous is…a heartache cure. Running has become my sanctuary when I’m missing my friends, or when my heart’s been broken. While I started running mid-January, I didn’t kick my butt into gear until the end of that month when N broke up with me. I won’t have gotten through that without my shoes. When my heart was shattered in May and my friends were 600 miles away, my legs carried me through.
Marvelous is…a sense of accomplishment. If you told me 6 months ago that I would be able to run 7 miles, I would have laughed in your face. Running has showed me that progress is attainable even when you don’t believe it is. The runs when nothing seems to feel right are worth it when you reach a new distance or speed.
Marvelous is…connections. When I left Maryland, I left my heart there. I miss it with all that I have. While I am honestly horrible at keeping in touch with people, running has helped me feel more connected to some of my friends in Maryland. The best part of this is that running is leading me back to MD sooner than I expected, and for a different reason. I’m not going back to MD for a man – but for my friends and a race!
Marvelous is…being comfortable in my body. When I started running, I had still been struggling with recovery from my eating disorder. Whenever things got tough, I’d fall right back into my safe little world of control. At first, running was a struggle because I didn’t fuel myself correctly. However, I wanted to be stronger. I worked on becoming more healthy, physically as well as mentally. It didn’t take long before being “in recovery” for 1.5 years seemingly became “recovered” after I could see what my body could do. Now, I maintain a healthy diet and am so much more comfortable in my body. Hey, I even bought a bikini! Too bad I still haven’t worn it…
Marvelous is…a different sense of control. School and my eating disorder gave me the control I craved. I could plan and control (to some extent) my academic performance. I could dictate whatever I ate. Now, I can control how I run, how fast and long I go, when I go. Sure, I follow a training plan. But I have no problem taking liberty over that some days. Like today – I am exhausted and my legs feel heavy. The treadmill isn’t set up and I don’t want to go outside – so I’m taking a day off. But tomorrow, I’ll lace up my Ghosts and head out for 5 miles and will hopefully enjoy them. I’ll dictate my speed, I’ll drink my Nuun, and I’ll be proud of myself for taking control of my running destiny.
Sometimes I think that I like running a little too much. I think about it often and talk about it a lot. But it makes me happy. Instead of talking about my crappy night at work (last night = kitchen plumbing issues. YUCK), I would rather talk about my runs for the week or my next race. Instead of looking at pictures of me and x boyfriend, I look at shoes and clothes so I don’t start missing him again. Heck, maybe eventually I’ll meet a nice runner who’ll be my dream man.
There’s so many more things that running has given me in these past few months, some I can’t put into words and others that I could share but I’ll spare you from those for now. I know as this journey will only change me more as the months wear on, as I run farther and hopefully faster.
How has running changed you?