Three years ago, I started getting serious about losing weight. If I remember right, in the spring of 2018, I decided to give running a try. It took me months of pushing myself and not giving up to get to the point where I found a small amount of joy in it. I mostly ran by myself, occassionally my bestie would be able to join me, she was a huge encouragment in getting me started. I had two other friends who would either run or walk with me as well. It was really an activity I did on my own. I’d set the alarm for early morning, we’re talking 4:45am, get my clothes on, and run the track at the gym.

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By the following spring I was running close to 8 miles a week.

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I would write and then go run.

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I’d wake up early and go run.

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Take the kids the karate and run.

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Feel slightly annoyed and run.

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Feet hitting the pavement.

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Grounded.

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Sweat on my forehead.

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Connected to my body.

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Music in my ears.

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Emotions worked through or around.

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“You can’t keep running. Stop. Give up. It’s too hard.”
“I can. I will. If I can write a novel, I can run a mile.”
Often, the evil critic would whisper in my ear, and I’d talk back. I was not going to stop running.

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Eventually, running and writing and going to Starbucks to escape my life wasn’t enough, and I went back to therapy.

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Then running became my salvation during my separation. I would try to talk to my ex and get wounded up and spiral out of control. I’d try to talk to my friends or family about it and spiral them out. My counselor suggested running when I felt amped up. I’d get a text from him and go hit the pavement. He’d leave a voicemail and I’d run two miles.

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We talked in therapy a lot about how I wanted to run away from my life. It was really the main reason I started back at therapy. This overwhelming sense of wanting to run away from it all. I’ve realized how much I did run away from without physically leaving. The hours upon hours I spent in Starbucks each week was my escape from reality. It was my alternate reality.

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I remember this spring when my therapist asked me about the running away. I hadn’t brought it up in a while. I hadn’t talked about running figuratively or physically in some time. I realized the act of running had stopped, and never begun again after I had surgery in February. I couldn’t physically run after that for a few months. I had tried a few times to get back into running, but something was missing from it now, the joy, the escape. More importantly, the running away in my mind had ceased. I no longer had the desire to run away from my life.

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Perhaps for the first time in my life, I was happy.

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Happy.

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Secure.

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Connected.

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Cherished.

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Seen.

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Nothing to run from. Nothing to hide from. Nothing to hide.

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When I run now, I’m not running from anything or anyone. When I feel myself running in my mind, I run towards God. And when I run towards God, I feel him gently remind me he’ll never leave. And in his not leaving, he’s given me a gift, he’s given me someone to sit with me, to hold me, to cherish me. No more running. No more hiding.