Tuesday, May 3, 2011

why I run

 photo credit: akronmarathon.org

Kali wrote an incredibly inspiring and courageous post about why she runs the other day. I say inspiring, because it inspire me to write this post. Courageous, because she down and out, put it all out there. She is amazing! If you have a second, please read her post.

My answer to the question "why do I run?" isn't quite as motivating or inspirational as Kali's, but I think it's just as heartfelt. I've talked about it before, about running as therapy, but I want to go into it a little more deeply. There's definitely a story behind why I started running, what it did for me then, and what it continues to do for me.

Thanks, Kali, for giving me the inspiration I needed to write this post!

I remember the first few times I went out for a run. I was a senior in high school and I wanted to get in shape for when I went to see my boyfriend in Arkansas over spring break. I ran two miles a day for two straight weeks, I ran with my CD player in my hand (anti-skip option was ON). It took me a solid half hour to run two miles. That was when I first started to flirt with running.

I didn't pick up running again until my second year in college. The summer before my junior year, I ran a little three mile loop along the waterfront in Hoboken every other day or so...but just so I could stay in shape for the upcoming lacrosse season. I ran because I needed to up the anti on the lacrosse team. I wanted to be a starting defender.

That following season (which was my junior year), I was a starting defender. Every. Single. Game.

I even made it as far as becoming one of the captains during my senior year. But (as I'm sure is true across many sports) "captain" doesn't necessarily mean getting playing time. For reasons that I don't think I'll ever fully (and I say fully because I know some of the owness is on me) understand, my coach refused to play me. Ok, so some of you might think I'm just whining. Everyone has to put in the work to get the playing time...and I did. It's just that there were players on the team that were better than me...and there's no "I" in "team" right?

I get it, it's perfectly legitimate that I didn't get a lick of playing time that year, but I was still a captain, I was still a leader on my team, and I was still laying it all out there for the team and feeling completely unfulfilled.

That's an understatement, I hated my senior season of lacrosse.

I was harboring so much anger. There was so much pain in my heart. I gave absolutely everything I had for the lacrosse team. One hundred percent of my energy was dedicated to the team. Many Reiki practitioners believe that there must be an equal exchange of energy when practicing reiki with others. There was no "equal exchange" for me. Lacrosse literally sucked the life out of me. It took all my energy, both positive and negative.

So I started running.

It started because I just wasn't getting the exercise that I wanted from practicing/games. I mean seriously, I didn't even get to play during practice at that point, so I needed something else. I soon found out that running helped me keep a rational, level head through all that pain and anger that I felt because of sitting on the sidelines. (Ok, ok, even I think I sound like I'm just whining now...)

I started with a couple of miles at a time and by the end of my senior season, I was running about 8 or 9 miles on a regular basis, after practices and games. My coach probably would have killed me if she knew that at the time, but I'm pretty sure I would have quit the team if I didn't have somewhere else to channel all of my negative energy. Running was the release that I needed. Running kept me sane. Running made me bearable to be around, even when I was at a very low point. Running helped me adjust my attitude.

It gave me a lot of time to reflect. A good run would often help give me the clarity to realize that I could still be an important part of the team, even without being on the field. That playing time doesn't define me as a player, or more importantly, as a leader. Running was my therapy and it was probably a big reason why I didn't quit the team.

Running is still a form of therapy for me, and that's why it's so important to me to continue running. I don't have to run a marathon, I don't even have to run a mile...I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If I do that, I know I can go anywhere and get through anything.
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