I ran on and off my entire life. no rhyme or reason. I would take off on a mid summer day with no destination at all. Half the time I didnt even have the proper shoes or clothing. Just ragged Kmart shoes, my dad's oversized tshirt and boxers. I would run until I couldnt and then call my dad on a payphone to come pick me up. I dont know why I ran, I just felt like it. Months would go by sometimes before I ran again, but it always gave me exactly what I needed.
As an adult, running became more important. Maybe it was stressors, responsibilities, a dying marriage, kids, a past I never faced, money...etc. It became an escape. I did a lot of escaping reality and I became a way better runner. I started entering races and I started winning to my surprise. I had never wore a watch before, so I never even knew what kind of pace I ran. Suddenly, the simplicity of running became more complicated. I was now a competitor and running took a whole new role in my life. It became all of my life. I needed the gear and I needed the win.
Life quickly gave me a much needed wake up call. An injury! I had time on my hands now that I didnt know what to do with. I felt myself spiraling out of control. I was a runner....what on earth was I going to do without running? You see, I became so wrapped up in it I lost myself instead of finding myself. As a therapist I was constantly telling others to find multiple ways to cope with life and here I was unable to cope. How did I lose focus? I loved running and what it had given me, but I allowed it to be the only thing that defined me. I was now Addie the runner, instead of Addie and a million other great things. So, as much as I hated 6 months of injury, it allowed me to find balance and focus again.
I trained while injured because I refused to forego a bucketlist to run Boston. The focus changed though as my training had to in order to keep me on track with therapy and healing my leg. I started running without a garmin, I ran slowly, I took in the smells of freshly cut grass, dryer sheets, the sun as it hits the horizon, I high fived passing runners, I waved at friends cheering me on, I coached new runners and I actually took my phone a few times to take pictures. I didnt even follow a training plan this time, I just went as long, short, fast or slow as I felt. I fell in love with running as I had years ago. I fell in love with the importance of running free. Perhaps this is all the reason I did so well in Boston, because I had no expectations and zero agenda. Running is a big part of my life, but running cant be my whole life. I think Im a way better EVERYTHING now in many ways because I had running taken away. Im resting today and instead of feeling guilty, Im laying in bed enjoying every moment of this rest I earned. Treat your mind, heart and body right...you are only given one!
Take away running and who are you?
My first steps as a baby according to my parents was actually a run. At 5yrs old my dad took me to the NYC Marathon, but truth be told I had no idea why people were running down the street. All this was foreshadowing for what was to be a life of running almost 30 years later. "If opportunity doesnt knock...build a door."
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