The beating of shoes hitting the ground, the rhythm of heavy breath, the power in every stride, the release, the challenge to keep going–this is the love of my life. It isn’t always easy to be with my love. It hurts, it challenges me mentally, and I can be very frustrated with it. However when I release the pressures I put on myself with my relationship with it I feel like my most true self. Running is what grounds me, what makes me smile, what keeps me mentally sound, what I can’t learn enough about, and what makes me free.
After reading an article in Runner’s World Magazine, a few wonderful conversations with a couple of close friends, and some of my own inner dialogue I decided I needed to get back on track with some of my goals. This included to have bench mark or really a starting point with my 5k time. So after reading the article on Wednesday before bed I signed up to run this Saturday the following day. With this said I knew this would not be a jaw-dropping time but rather just a check-in.
I was not even close to my PR, I am almost certain I could have pushed harder, and it is not a race I would boast about. However, it felt like the medicine I have been searching for. It reminded me of who I am and what I love in life. I felt so truly like myself there. Preparing for the race with a warm-up, strides, dynamic warm-up and having little girls watch me with intensity was the topping of the cake. I noticed a little girl not more than 4 years old sneaking trying to stretch like I was. I let her know that she could stretch like me with a smile. The next 10 minutes I had a mini-me stretching along side me.
During the race I was overcome with the feeling of unity. In running or in racing we are all out there doing the same thing. We are pushing ourselves to do something challenging and uncomfortable. With the out and back style of the race I could not help myself encourage all of the people I saw coming behind me and each of them smiled as I encouraged them. I was running 6th overall and the 2nd woman but the competition of the race slipped away, at least as much as it does with me… I am a little competitive when it comes to running. This said I was still hurting, still breathing hard, and still aware of my pace. As I crossed the finish line the swirl of wonderful endorphins rushed in and I was truly exactly where I wanted to be.
I had wonderful conversations with several of the runners after the race after cheering people in and waiting for awards. I talked to a veteran runner who had been running 15 minute 5Ks in high school, a woman who will be turning 50 this year and just had a baby last year who just starting running 5K in 2017, the little girl who beat me that was probably not quite in middle school yet, a woman and her friend that have been running 5Ks for 2 years and now really looking to improve their time, and the high school young man that won the entire race and just finished his track season. I love how running can call to someone at any stage of your life. We all came to running for different reasons, we all keep running for different reasons, and we all can come together for different reasons to run the same race. I will always love the runner’s culture and I am very thankful I was reminded of that this weekend. You are the love of my life my dearest sport, I love you running and always will.
California Living, Michigan Raised Angela