I don’t know how it happened.
When I was younger I used to hate running – hate with a capital H. I would often endure only 30 seconds of the mandatory task before a mind bending cramp would wreck havoc in my side.
In elementary school, I remember dreading the infamous track and field day. For some bizarre reason I would always sign up for the 100m sprint, as if there was no lesser evil to choose from. And without fail, I always came in last – my schoolmates on the bleachers getting a front row seat to my demise.
But somewhere along the way my relationship with running changed.
I remember consistently exercising in the months leading up to my wedding. We had just purchased a treadmill – yes, I’m a treadmill runner – and I started doing morning runs before work. My plan was to just run a few times a week but to my surprise it became something that my body began to crave and need, so I ended up doing it almost everyday.
Now, as a Stay At Home Mom, I use it for both my physical and mental health.
A few weeks ago I finally laced up – it had been a little while. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed because on top of being a human and a Mom, we are still enduring this global pandemic – everyday – and all of the lovely complications that go along with it.
As I broke into a stride and my body started to gain momentum, the rhythm of the music slowly flooded my ears, travelling through my blood and tingling every inch and crevice of my body. I immediately started to cry.
It was as if my body was screaming for it all along, but for some reason, I hadn’t been paying attention. If you’ve never cried when running before, I’ll let you know that it’s not an easy thing to do, but it felt so fucking good.
And as the beat of the music pounded deep within my soul, I ran faster, and faster – like I was running from all the chaos, all the hard, all the stress, and all the uncontrollable things in my life. But in that moment, I felt in control and I felt powerful again.
I felt renewed with every bead of sweat that dripped off my forehead, like I was shedding an old layer of built up gunk. And as I pushed my body further and further, I could feel the tension lift out of my shoulders, the pent up emotions getting lighter and lighter, and I could feel a space within myself emerge – free and glorious space.
And as I completed the run, I could feel that my body was satisfied. It was tired and drained. It felt almost impossible to hold on to any emotion in that moment, even if I wanted to. And my thoughts were clear and uncluttered. And the anxiety, I seem to work so hard at to maintain, was completely ripped to shreds. It was fucking fabulous.
So, I think I’m a ‘runner’ now.
I have made an effort to go for a run every other day for the past month. And even on the days I don’t want to, after only a couple minutes in, as I slowly begin to feel all those glorious things again, I’m completely and utterly committed.
The best part though, is at the end, when I finish my run. I play the same song every time: Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. And as the instrumental beats, dings, and strings lead into the soothing hum drum vocals – “Mmm num ba de. Dum bum ba be. Doo buh dum ba beh beh” – I slow my pace and start to raise my arms up in victory as they belt out, “Pressure pushing down on me!”