I think I often take my love of running for granted. It’s so very easy to get caught up in our carefully crafted training plans and whether Asics are better than Brooks, and the merits, or detriments, of barefoot running.
This is why, every now and then, I like to pause for a while and reconnect with the basic foundations of my love for running, by writing it down.
I was recently included in a writing relay, over on my other blog. The topic was ‘hope’. I thought long and hard about what I should write about. Hope is such a powerful word, and after reading the achingly beautiful and poignant responses from my fellow baton holders, I very nearly didn’t write anything at all. I asked myself, ”What do you know about hope?”
I was met with my own silence.
And so, as I always do when I need some time to think, I laced up my trainers and hit the road running.
I ran along the riverside and through the park, and listened to the sound of my breath as it left my lungs and met with the warm air. I felt the beads of sweat roll down my lower back, collecting in the waistband of my running shorts. I watched, as other runners approached me, gesturing my presence with that welcoming nod that humbly conveys, ”We are in this together”. I ran and ran, and thought and thought.
I think about a lot of things when I run. I often think about my Mum and wonder what life would be like if she was still here. I try to remember what her voice sounded like and allow myself to wallow in long-gone memories that linger in the corners of my mind. I think about her fight with depression and the lessons I was unwittingly taught in the aftermath of her death. I think about my own struggles and how they have shaped me along the way. I think about my life and what I hope to achieve from it, and the ways in which I can strive for a future full of honesty, love, compassion and inspiring others.
Running centres me and gives me space to breathe easy. It challenges me to overcome difficult times by digging deep and listening to my heart, knowing that there is no advance without adversity.
Running provides me with a desire to reach out to life and grab it with both hands. In three months time, I’ll be running my first ultra marathon, a race that, just two years ago, would have been an inconceivably impossible distance to complete. But through running, through breaking down barriers bit-by-bit, I’ve learnt to endure, to trust not only the strength of my own body, but my mental tenacity. It’s an empowering sensation, to know that something that once seemed so unreasonably difficult, was mastered through a potent mix of sheer determination, gritted teeth and hope.
Hope is the basic, yet deep foundation that supports my sky-scraping love for running.
And now it’s my turn to pass the baton along.