I have strong legs that carry me over white wintry trails, past the first bright flowers in springtime, into the blazing hot sun of summer, and into the soul-soothing golden light of fall.
My heart pounds.
I gasp for breath.
My soul opens wider with each mile.
I am a runner.
I train when I would rather sleep. I lace my sneakers when I would rather sip coffee and meander through Pinterest. When it rains, I run. When it snows, I run. When the sun shines, when the clouds gather – I run.
I run away from stress, from an over-crowded and noisy and rambunctious home, from worries of bills, crow’s feet, overpacked schedules, and rampant laundry. I run when I am sad, angry, anxious, unsure. When life is overwhelming, I run.
I run to joy, to increasing strength in body and mind, to more certain footing and peaceful thinking. I run to meet my goals, to clear my thoughts, to prove that I am more than a wife and a mother, even if it is only to myself. I run both to remember and find myself. I run when I am happy, joyful, excited, and certain. When life is easy, I run.
I am a runner.
I rejoice in roads and trails and PR’s and increasing mileage. I am proud of my medals. I love sharing my love with others.
I am part of a family of runners, a community so large and vast and strong that one day cannot take away all that we are. The spirit of a runner is rooted is resilience and forward movement. We do not look back; we do not stop when the hills are steep or long.
We are runners.
We welcome the newbies, the young, the old. We offer advice and encouragement. There is no fear of competition; there is a simple desire to share the love and the joy. This is our religion. We worship with our faces turned to the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on our cheeks. We ignore twinges of our joints, nonexistent toenails, and callouses harder and rougher than bricks. Those are our badges of honor.
We will go forward, knowing that hate will never conquer hate and darkness only lends itself to more darkness. We will run today; we will run tomorrow. We will run and think of them and the salt from our tears will mix with the salt of our sweat. We will not know where our sobs meet our shortness of breath. We will run and feel the pounding of our hearts and the tightness in our chests. We will run until we are worn to the bone. And then we will wake so we can run some more. We will run until we have found ourselves again; until we have shown that we are stronger than one act of cowardice, that our love supersedes their hate. We will run to find comfort and release and then we will run to regain our strength and certainty.
We ARE runners.
I AM a runner.