Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse. -George A. Sheehan
I settled in for a long run this last Saturday. When I say “settle in” I mean it. I ran for 90 minutes on Saturday. Yikes! That’s a movie! If you recall I love accomplishing projects fast. There is nothing, I mean nothing fast about running for an hour and a half. I know it’s part of the training and I know when I’m finished I never regret long runs. (Let’s be honest it means I get to eat more candy, right? Because that’s what I do!) As I thought about this run I became nervous. That’s a whole lot of running and a whole lot of alone time with me and the road…and my thoughts. When my foot first hit the pavement I consciously said, “Settle in for this run.” And I did just that. I had no speed goals or distance goals this time I just wanted to finish the run….without throwing up.
Running is a funny entity in my life. It’s my place I work stuff out at times and other times its my place I just run and cross off an accomplishment of a long run or a fast run. I zone out and look for the next landmark that draws me closer to the end. I listen to this particular song by the group Fun that always inspires me. It’s not overly fast like the rest of my running music but there’s a line it that always makes me speed up:
If you’re lost and alone
Or sinking like a stone
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
There’s something about that chorus that calls me to hope. Don’t give up, this isn’t the end it screams. I confess I have even prayed those words before while in some of my dark twisty moments. Even those moments I’m just willing my legs to go faster so I can be done and siting on my couch drinking water, this song always makes me stop and pause. I do enjoy running half of the time, but to be fair I’m not “a runner.” You know those people that are just runners? They look the part. They enjoy the exhilaration of putting their shoes on for the sake of the run. That’s not me. I feel more like this song. Each step is me moving beyond the parts of my past that are finished and looking forward with hope. I used to fear long moments or hours with only my thoughts. Now I settle in and let my feet pound the ground as I run through the streets of a city and a country I never would have expected to be living in a few years ago. I find I let go of past hurt and circumstances easier on runs and even easier when this song blasts through my ear phones.
I wonder if other people have a fear of settling into long moments in life. I wonder if they fear their thoughts; If others find hope in exercise or hobbies. I sure do. I’m so thankful for this song even more now. As I’ve climbed over a huge wall in my own life I can’t help but smile when those lines echo through my ears. I started running to have a break from the sadness and now I can truly say with each sound of my foot hitting the ground my face is forward, as well as my heart, looking for what’s next not just hoping to survive the winter.