Live. Love. Run.

Yesterday I loaded up my car with my beach gear and drove two hours to go to my happy place. I have been my own worst enemy lately and needed to go somewhere to reset and recharge. St. George Island State Park is where I go when I need to do a “hard reset” on my brain. Usually when I go to the beach, I bring a book, some music and my bathing suit. I lay out under the sun and soak up the much needed Vitamin D. I’ll play out in the waves and smell the salty air. I like curling up in my beach chair with a good book. St George is usually pretty peaceful and quiet. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a little spot and be able to enjoy the peace alone. Other people appear like little specks in the distance they are so far away.

Yeserday was a little different. I decided to add St George to my slowly growing list of places to go for a peaceful run. If you drive all the way to the end of the island, you’ll find a gravel trail that winds throughout. It was a great little trail to run on. It was also a great little trail to find out how much I don’t like running on gravel (my knees burned during that entire stretch!). About a mile and a half into my run, I found an off shoot and veered off toward the beach. I took a short breather and admired the beauty around me.

Image

I stopped to breathe in the salty air. I was huffing and puffing a bit, but I felt good. Running reminds me of my worth. It reminds me of my strength and power. It shouts to me that I can do anything. I’m worthy. I’m strong. I’m good. When I’m running, I let go of the negativity and embrace my inner beauty. Every footfall crushes down the angry voices and instead fills me with a sense of accomplishment. Standing on the beach facing the gulf, I was able to let go of the hurt. I was able to fill my heart with good feelings and was able to release the negativity that has so recently been floating around in my mind. I continued down the beach and started to run again. My knees thanked me for this. Running on sand is no easy task – but it certainly cushioned the impact more than the gravel!

Image

Thirty-nine minutes and 3.01 miles later (let’s not even talk about timing – I was there to have fun!) I ended my run. I did some light yoga on the beach to stretch out my tired muscles. I found a nice secluded spot and settled down to relax with a good book and some water. By the end of my trip, I was back to being “me”.

Image

Advertisements

Even When It Hurts

Today started off bad.

Today, I didn’t want to run. I didn’t sleep well. It was too hard to get out of bed. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. But I rolled over and there he was. A thirty pound ball of black and white fur. He looked at me with his liquid brown eyes and wagged his tail. He was waiting to go. It hurt to get out of bed but I did. I got dressed and loaded him into the car.

Our entire run (a little over a mile and a quarter in a little over twenty minutes) was at first a “struggle”. My body wanted to sprint. I wanted to tear through the woods to exhaust my mind against the “crazy” thoughts but I had to pace myself. Gabriel is less than a year old and has awhile to go before he can run at my pace.

I found that a lot of my run consisted of “you can do this, baby” and “come on Gabriel, just a little further and we’ll walk for a few minutes”. It dawned on me that I was encouraging him in much the same way I encourage myself when I run alone. Just a few more feet. Run until this song is over. Run until you pass that sign. My encouragement brought him into step with me, his ears and tail up.

My day to day life is like that, too. Just get through today and tomorrow will be better. Be strong. You only need to get through the next few hours and then you can let it go. Even when it hurts I tell myself it will be okay.

Things will always be okay if I can just get through the next few steps.

Today started off bad.

But today ended on a good note because I can do this.

Running to Live

“We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”

– Jesse Owens
Olympic gold-medalist runner

 

If you had asked me ten years ago if I saw myself “competing” (I use the word loosely. I don’t see my amateur running as competitive toward anyone but myself) in races, I would have laughed in your face. I used to hate running more than a few feet on the track during gym class. I was one of those girls that came up with as many excuses as possible to get out of physical education.

At twenty-four years old, I have a very different mindset. Whereas at fourteen I viewed running as tortuous and energy consuming, I look at running now as a release. Each time my foot pushes against the ground to propel me forward, I release my emotions and let go. It does not matter how quickly I am crossing the ground – all that matters in that moment is the feeling of my arms pumping at my side and my legs moving in a steady pace.

I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t run to be the best. I don’t run in “races” to win. I run to live. I run to feel the wind in my face and the ground beneath my feet. I run to release the pain, the anger and the uncertainty. I run to regain control over my tumultuous emotions. I run as a form of therapy. A little over a year ago, I started taking antidepressants to control my mood disorder and depression. The pills helped – but I don’t feel “normal” or “sane” unless I can work through my “issues” (note the loose use of the word, here) through a run.

This year (and the years to follow!) I have goals. I want to progress from my 5K to a 10K. I want to train for a half marathon. By February of next year, I want to be running throughout Magic Kingdom and Epcot to claim my place among the finishers of the “Disney Princess Half Marathon”.

I’m blogging for accountability. I’m blogging to keep myself on track throughout the year so that I meet my goals.

But ultimately, I am blogging to tell my story.

Suffering from a mental illness does not mean that my dreams cannot become a reality. I will overcome through determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.

One Seminole's Journey to Sanity – Mile by Mile