Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Born Again: Runner's Edition

I am a born-again runner--as of four o'clock this morning.

Just humor me and pretend my fingers are pointing at the clock


I consider myself a runner, and have for the past five years. Day in, day out, running every day but Sundays. Sometimes just 2 miles, sometimes 26.2. I've run too many repeats to count, through too many shoes to keep track of, and far too many miles to imagine. Running, for a very long time, was my lifeline.

And then I forgot.

I could list a great number of excuses as to why I forgot, and you would likely believe them all. But if I were to be entirely honest, I would have to admit that I forgot that running saves me. I lost sight of the joy that it brings--the peace, the fulfillment. Perhaps I subconsciously forgot on purpose. Perhaps I forgot the joys so that I would forget the pains--the disappointment, the inadequacy, the self-doubt, the fear.

Still, try as I might, running would not leave my mind. It just wouldn't. School, work, internship, family, friends, stress, church, life--none could drown it out. A mixture of guilt and envy swallowed me up every time I saw a runner pass by. I found myself flipping through old cross country pictures again and again and again. I signed up for a marathon. I signed up for a half marathon. My mind may have forgotten running, but my heart sure didn't. And my heart couldn't. And it never will be able to.

Because when I run, my feet take flight--interrupted only for a moment in passing as they push off into the air once more. I am taken to newer, higher, grander places. I tap into a strength I never knew I had, and I find courage in using every last drop I can discover. I rely on the experience and support of others, I rely on myself, and I rely on the power of prayer. When I run, I not only strive for the impossible, but I achieve it. No matter how dreary or daunting the day, I can always end a run with a smile because I realize that I can do hard things.

And this morning, as I stepped into the warm glow of the streetlight, I remembered. Despite the pains of the past, the joys were overwhelming. And, as a runner, I was, and am, and ever will be born again.

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