I’ve written about running countless times. I’ve written about how when I’m running I am someone else. When I run I am strong, confident, beautiful, and worthy.
I’ve written a whole hell of a lot about how free running has made me feel. Free. Unrestrained. Empowered. Valuable.
I am still running, naturally, but not like I was before. I’m still running marathons, three in 2019, and one already in 2020, to be exact, and other races, but not as fast as I used to and not with the same amount of fervor.
So, what gives?
Well, I was running before not because I “wanted” to, but because I “needed” to. It was what I needed. It was an urgent, pressing need. I had to get away. I ran hard and I ran long. I ran until I was too tired to care about my problems. I ran to feel worthy. I ran to feel human. I ignored all of the bad parts of my life by running, and the running empowered me.
You see, when I was running, my problems simply didn’t exist. In that space they were utterly and completely nonexistent. Running and thinking about running became a wonderfully satisfying distraction. I had things to focus on. I was thriving.
The problem with this is that I was attempting to put lipstick on a pig. I was essentially saying, “everything is fine in my life if I’m doing this well with running. Everything is great. Life is good.”
So I tried to run away through my running; however, no matter how hard I tried, the problems still existed. Inside of me was an unhappiness that I simply could not run from. My unresolved issues were there. The more I ran, the more I was increasing the distance from the solution.
My unresolved clutter needed to be dealt with. Truly. I could not keep running. I needed to stop. I had to stop. Stay in one place and quit running. And I had to think. Really think about what I wanted and what was best. I had to think about that sense of pride I once had from persevering. At one point I felt like I kept grabbing for new, but my hands were so full with the old that I just ended up dropping everything.
So I made changes. Big changes. I took my life back. I stopped running from my problems and decided that I needed to change things in order to be the person I used to be. Needed to be. I am more than just my running. I am a complete person. I have people who depend on me to be my best.
So after the changes, it was time to heal and reflect and to run on my own terms. Not as a way to escape problems, but for the pure joy of running. To experience running in a different capacity. To be grateful to running for all of the solace it brought me through those tough times, but also to run for a new purpose. To be grateful for my present calm and to run happy. Truly.
But I have to admit, I do not feel the urgency and need to run I once felt. The running is simply not at the forefront of my mind. I feel free in my day-to-day life, and so I do not seek the escape from the present. I do not need running to feel free.
So, while I was unhappy before, I was an exceptional runner. What a conundrum. In order to run well I have to be unhappy? What, am I some sort of tortured artist who must “suffer for her craft?” Seriously?
No. I just need more time to adjust.
I have tackled my problems head-on and have begun to move on. Just like coming back from a physical injury, coming back from emotional injury is just as difficult, dare I say even more difficult. It is very difficult to write a new chapter before you have finished the previous chapter.
So I am back to writing again. And reflecting. And learning to run with joy. I am understanding now that before running was a numbing agent for me. Running produced a precarious scab that once upset slightly would cause me to bleed. I am understanding that by running away I wasn’t fully present wherever I was supposed to be at the time.
I am now present. I will no longer run away from myself.