At 5:45 a.m. at least three times a week, I wake up, inch out of our bed without disturbing my husband, and tiptoe into my closet. Half asleep, I look for my shorts, a shirt, and my socks. I head to the garage and find my running shoes, the ones with a tag affixed to the shoelace that reminds me to “Never Give Up.”
The headphones in my ear and I am ready to dash. I start running and the first half mile hurts. I want to stop so bad, but I don’t. The knees feel a little strained, but I keep going. It is a good pain. I breathe in and out and the cadence wills me to go on. Midway through the second mile, I am enjoying my run, taking in the sounds around me, feeling my arms swing, the feet in a rhythm. At the end of the run, I am fatigued, but rejuvenated.
I know some of you think I am crazy. I would have agreed with you about three years ago. I had never tried running, other than dashing to the phone in my apartment. I wasn’t athletic growing up. I didn’t play softball, basketball, and to be honest, when PE time came around, I lingered a little in the locker room because I wasn’t a big fan of kickball. I came late to running only because my husband convinced me to try it to shed a few of those pesky lingering pounds. In the beginning, I only started running to lose weight. My marriage with running evolved when I participated in my first 5K. I remember the energy of all of the runners around me, everyone eager to move their bodies.
I realized at that moment, how fortunate I was to discover this energy. To live. To breathe. To be able to run. It is a gift. I don’t run anymore to shed pounds, but it reminds me how privileged I am to be able to move my body in a space that is all mine. I may have come to running late, but I am glad. It reminds me that when you have health, you have everything.