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.