Finding My Thing

My older sister texted me one of those memes the other day:

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I know she meant it as a joke, a “haha” to the fact that I am forever raving about running. I get it: it probably gets old. But it’s been on my mind since.

Today I headed out on a solo 10-miler on a hilly country road. It is 70 degrees out and gorgeous, but my hamstrings felt like painful lumps of lead from my gym workout two days ago.  This was not one of those smooth, effortless runs, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It was one of those heart-full, appreciative, mindful reflection runs. My mind drifted for 84 minutes about what my own running meme would be. . .

I decided to lace up my shoes again today and go for a run. Thought back on my running journey across the last seven years. The goals I’ve set and accomplished. The finish lines I’ve crossed full of triumph, and those I’ve crossed full of disappointment. How I’ve discovered an athlete within myself, one I didn’t even know was there for 29 years. How running has helped me come to peace with the suicide of my first husband by giving me the space and time to do nothing but reflect on it. And the space to talk about it with strangers who became friends that are now the strongest, most healthy friendships I have ever had. Friends that push me to be better, accept me at my lowest, and join me for races and adventures. I’ve truly found My People.

Running has helped quiet the voice of anorexia and self doubt; when I am stressed, I go for a run and feel refreshed to eat and fuel my body for peak performance. I have the strength and esteem now to know that I am more than the circumference of my upper thigh. I know what these thighs can do, how far they’ve gone and how fast, the hills they can climb and the ass-kicking they can do.

Running has helped me battle that heavy cloak of depression–I tap into my own endorphins and this is my version of meditation, of working through the hard reality that is life. Running helped me stay sober today, again.  And on days I want a drink, it gives me a good reason to have a glass of wine. It gets me outside in all types of weather and nourishes that part of me that needs nature. I appreciate the fleeting and transitional quality of life because of that. I run from my genetics for a weak cardiovascular system and an early death. I run with my children and model to them a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mindset.

I’m a better mother, a better wife, a better friend. I’ve found my thing. My rudder. And I am going to yell about it from the rooftops … or at least my laptop. In this world that can be so heavy and negative, I wish we could all find our thing. Not necessarily running; I know that’s not for everyone. Yoga. Gardening. Traveling. Volunteering. Cooking. Cycling. Cross-fitting. Church. Painting. Jesus. Sitting on the couch eating cinnamon rolls. Whatever. Find your thing. Pour your energy into it and preach it! Because it will come cascading back to you and affect parts of your life you had no idea it could. It has for me. Find your thing.

So today, I laced up my shoes and headed out for a run.

Best. Decision. Ever.   

A Strong, Smiling Pimento      

I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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  1. One’s “thing” can be anything but running is a good one, a very good one. I think it is difficult for those who don’t one to see past the pure running, one foot in front of the other, to the more expansive benefits, whether physical or mental health, solitude and friendship, self-confidence, the list is individual and endless. Sometimes running seems selfish to me but as you point out, it’s often the running that allosw us to be a better person to others. Good post.

  2. Preach on sister!! Running has been my saving grace in life. It has literally gotten me through the darkest days. I have learned more about myself and about life then I ever would through anyone or any other activity. Great post!

  3. Love it. I’m sure I completely annoy people with my running posts/blogs but they can suck it. It brings great joy to my life and makes me a better, happier person!

  4. Love this! I can relate on so many levels- running has been a saving grace for me in continuing to keep eating disordered thoughts at bay, keep depression from rearing its ugly head, and to help me maintain sobriety. A really beautiful piece!!

  5. I thought I had seen this movie before but as soon as it started, I got all teared up and my stomach had that flittering feeling. Good to feel – it means we’re real. And it is good to have a sense that we are in control of a few things in this crazy life stuff.