The more I run, the more I realize how big a part of me it is. Not because I love it, which I do, but because of how it changes me.
I’m not a shoe girl, aside from my one pair of boots I count as “fancy,” I’m either in flip-flops or sneakers. But those four pairs of running shoes I’ve gone through in the last two years? They’re not going anywhere. Two of the pairs are still decent enough to give away, but those shoes have many miles under the tread. One pair has the thirteen miles I didn’t think I could do. They’ve welcomed me back after long breaks with stitches and heavy legs, reprimanding my laziness. Some of the miles were just checked off and logged, just miles. But then there are those run out of desperation. The ones mixed with the push inside to give it everything and the tears that want to fall and curl up on the sidewalk. Those shoes hold blistered toes that hit the pavement, step after step, asking to keep going, begging to give it one more step. And I do.
I’ve had my fair share of skipped runs, don’t get me wrong, but working at making it work is half the fun. The numbers go up, I keep pushing, and I keep learning. I learn about sticking to things even when I don’t feel like it, about how those are the times I end up the most grateful. I learn that I learn in the doing, in the action of it. I can sit around and think about running all day long, about how far and how fast I can go, but unless I actually do it then I have gained nothing.
I’ve signed up for the same half marathon this year, and I’ve got lots more to learn along the way. It’s not all about running; it might not even be mostly about running. Running is just a way I’m taught and asked to look at things differently. But that’s what something that changes you is supposed to do isn’t it?