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Run Angry – Why Running (Literally) Saved My Life

Pivotal moments in our life are what truly define us.

They push us towards new opportunities that challenge and change us in incredibly amazing ways.

Yes, we could fail…

Worse, though, we could not try at all and perhaps miss out on the most exciting adventure of our lives.

This is my story.

Ten years ago I wasn’t a runner. I was pregnant with my first child, but I had serious doubts about my future. I was married to an abusive, controlling man who isolated me from my family, from everyone.

I felt trapped. Alone. And, for the first time in my life, I was scared.

I also stopped doing the things I loved, the things that made me happy: listening to music, reading, hanging out with friends, going to the gym. I went on autopilot, going through the motions every day just to survive. It was no way to live and it wasn’t the life I wanted my daughter to emulate.

In 2012, I found the courage to leave. It’s also the year I began distance running…and it saved my life.

I’ll never forget that day. The moment I grabbed my sneakers, blasted the music and just ran.

I ran for my life. And, boy, did I run angry.

See, I thought the worst was over, yet I had no idea what kind of hell awaited me…months of uncertainty, anguish and heartache. I had no control over what was happening to my life and, worst of all, I feared for my child’s well-being. Sleepless nights and stressful days undermined my health and confidence. I began having anxiety attacks and reoccurring bouts of depression. I needed help, but I had no idea how to ask for it…and, honestly, I didn’t want to burden anyone with my struggles. I hit rock bottom and it was a terrifying place to be.

That day – the day I decided to start running – was the ultimate Hail Mary of my life. I went out for a run to forget about everything, forget about my problems, forget about the unfairness of everything that had befallen me and just be present in the moment. Distance running never came easy to me, so focusing on the rhythmic cadence of my breathing and footsteps relaxed me. For the first time in months, I felt at ease and the miles poured out of me as did the sadness that I’d felt for so very long.

Running was a lifeline for me. I ran away my fears and my doubts. But, mostly, I ran to let go of a lot of anger. The more I ran, the more I felt empowered, hopeful and in control of my life. Running gave me purpose, brought me peace of mind and opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me.

More importantly, though, running gave me back my life.

And, I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Runners share a common understanding – the miles are not just miles…they mean so much more than that. 

Keeping fit. Overcoming illness. Finishing a race. Achieving a PR. Or, as simple as that daily dose of feel good factor – the “Runner’s High.”

Back then, I ran angry – pure and simple. I found solace pounding the trails.

Today, I’m in a much better place.

I run happy…and I love it.

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  • Reply Brenna February 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you Rachel..! This is truly inspiring. I have wanted to start running for a long time but I’ve never really liked it. As a former cross fitter, it was always a quick warm up run. Your posts give me the courage to try… I’m happy that you have found that inner peace that so many struggle to find. Keep it up old friend.. 😊

    • Reply drj2211 February 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Awww, thanks, Brenna! Yes, we go back a long ways, don’t we? 🙂 I’m glad my post resonated with you. Let’s go for a run sometime and catch up! We are always stronger when we’re there for each other. Take care! Love, Rachael

  • Reply Shelly Naramore February 24, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Thank you! I feel like my life mirrors yours. Running kept my sanity. Still reeling from the blowback from my divorce, and the pain and isolation is surreal. Don’t know that I will ever conquer it, but I’m keeping my head above water for now.

    • Reply drj2211 February 24, 2017 at 11:53 am

      You’re very welcome, Shelly! I’m glad people can relate to my post. It shows we are not alone and we are all survivors, in some way. Keep your head up, stay strong and keep running! Wishing you the best, always. Rachael

  • Reply Jerry January 30, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Glad you have found peace through running. It is like that for many!

    • Reply drj2211 January 31, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Thank you, Jerry! That’s another reason why I love running so much! 😃 Best, Rachael

  • Reply be the best Mimi January 30, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Thank you, Rachel. I totally feel with you and I’m very happy for your life changing. ❤️ Never stop running!

    • Reply drj2211 January 30, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Thank you, Romina! 😌

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    DR J 2211 – Rachael Jezierski, PhD