First off, SHEW! What a difference a day makes in a run (and my mood). I don't normally run two days in a row but I just really wanted a do-over of yesterday's run. I went out super early, the street lights were still on, and I just ran wherever I wanted. I even tried out my new hat from Target, it worked really well! (excuse the early morning grainy shot!)
I wasn't running any faster or slower than yesterday, but I knew right away it was going to be a good run. I just let everything go and ran. It was fantastic. I ran out to my favorite path that always smells so good, there's tons of honeysuckle. Pretty
weeds flowers all along the path too!
So, what's so personal about that? It was what was going on in my head that was personal.
I really let go of everyday life stuff and enjoyed the run. At some point I had a little flash of a familiar picture in my head. It's something that for years has occasionally popped in my head (do you have those kinds of things? Memories of something pop in your head out of nowhere?) but more and more as I got older and started running. I have never shared this with anyone, I don't think, so it feels pretty personal to put it out here...
When I was 12 or 13 I read a book. I have NO clue what book it was (you can tell me if you figure it out). I have a feeling it was a Judy Bloom book. I was very unhappy as an early teen, for lots of reasons, hormones and such, but probably what I allowed to effect me the most was my weight. I was so consumed with what everyone thought of me, I'll take the blame for some of this, but being teased for years in grade school can take a toll.
So, back to this book. In the book, a girl, just like me, was teased and treated horribly by her schoolmates. One summer, she decided she had had enough and went out into her back yard and ran in circles. She ran and ran around her yard, all summer, dieted, and in the fall she was thin. (yes, totally realistic! Sheesh.) She went to a masquerade party with a mask on and no one knew who she was, but they all wanted to be her friend. She tricked them, I remember that but not much more. The gist, she proved that she was still the same person and they were shallow, horrible people...or whatever.
I remember wanting so badly to do what she did. I think I even went out and ran around my back yard once or twice. I yo-yo dieted as well. Ugh. I remember wishing and hoping I could show everyone how wrong they were to judge me. I never did though. I thought I didn't have enough willpower. I struggled and my self-esteem suffered.
Obviously I didn't realize at the time how wrong the author was. Sure, she was trying to point out that people are shallow and shouldn't judge, but I have realized something since then. It wasn't that I didn't have willpower, it was that I was not only wanting it for all the wrong reasons, but I was looking in all the wrong places. I was looking outside myself. Looking to change just the outside for all the people on the outside.
Those times when I realize I'm REALLY RUNNING and I'm really doing it, it's not for someone else. It's not to prove anything to anyone, it's not to get skinny and have people like me. It's for ME. It's inside, not out. I feel strong, focused, and accomplished. Running isn't really about the outside, it's inside you, where you have to dig deep and push through. I think I somehow thought if I looked the way others wanted me to, then they would see who I am, but I had it all wrong. You have to find yourself IN yourself and FOR yourself. Oh geez, this is harder to put into words than I thought and I'm getting all philosophical.
The bottom line is that I feel like I am more myself running than any other time and it has not a single thing to do with what I look like. (ok, that's a lie, I do love my cute running skirts and tutus! LOL)
When the vision of that girl popped into my head this morning I thought about how running is healing the hurt girl that I was. I longed to run back then because I thought it would make me look the way I wanted to look. It turns out that running is far more rewarding than I had ever imagined. The way I look seems to only be a nice perk that doesn't mean much in comparison to the other things I have gained.
Has running healed you or made you a stronger person on the inside, in any way? Did you ever think, before you started running, that running was such a "heady" activity?