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  • I am a runner. I am not the fastest runner, nor the farthest. But running is very much a part of who I am.

    I have been running for nearly 30 years.

    Running is like an old friend who has seen me through the best and worst times. Through my youth, when I was young and idealistic, strong and fast - when I felt I could conquer the world. Through many dysfunctional relationships (some which began through running), before finally settling on a solid path. Through my middle age, despite two pregnancies and numerous physical injuries. I sprung for the good jogging stroller. I adjusted my pace and mileage to lessen the stress on my joints and ligaments. I have been told by my doctor to find a new method of exercise, encouraged to try a new sport. But the problem is, I'm a runner.

    I sometimes run with others. Some of my best runs have been with dear friends, running and sharing and crying together... For nearly 10 years I ran with my faithful yellow lab by my side, until I lost her to cancer. I have run away from a jeep full of drunk frat boys, shouting profanities and racial slurs. I have run away from a homeless man, ranting incoherently. Following a running injury, I have been helped by a passing police car, and once, on a midnight run, by a man who worked at the zoo caring for condors.

    I often run alone. When I run, it's just me and the road. It's not just about physical exercise. It's therapeutic. I am left alone with my own thoughts and feelings, which I find I seldom make time for in my busy schedule. It is the time that I center myself and figure out what is really going on with me. I have touched and embraced my own emotional pain while running. I have mourned and grieved, and have experienced some of my most cathartic moments, both painful and healing. Somehow being on a running path allows me to be vulnerable in a way that is difficult, even with my own family - especially with my own family.

    I have had my most spiritual moments in life when running - noticing as if for the first time the beauty of the world around me. Running through the mountains, feeling the rain on my face, the warmth of the sun breaking through the clouds. I have felt so thankful to be a part of it all, and I have felt wonder and joy at being given this gift of my own body, that it could carry me so many miles. I have felt so tired and so re-energized and so good.

    When I put my running clothes on, I feel like I am putting on a second skin - I feel like I am me again. When I put my running shoes on, it's like remembering where I've been. And it gives me a glimpse of the direction I'm going.

    And so as long as I am able, I will run.
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