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One year ago, I started down a path that I never thought I’d travel–a path that I had previously seen no reason to ever think much about, unless it was in jest.

One year ago, I was frequently irritable.

One year ago, I was consistently exhausted.

One year ago I made excuses for not making time for myself.

Before…

One year ago, for the first time ever in my life, I was more than 30 pounds overweight.

One year ago, I couldn’t jog for a full 60 seconds.

Yet is was one year ago today that I became a runner.

A Runner! The idea still baffles me.

Even more baffling is the realization of how many things that I just assumed that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do, were actually things that I was choosing not to do.

I was making a choice to be irritable.

I was making a choice to be exhausted.

I was making a choice not to make time for myself.

Not anymore.

Today, I choose to run because running has given me a freedom-of-self that I had assumed that I already possessed. But I was wrong. Couldn’t. Shouldn’t. Wouldn’t. Can’t. Won’t. Those words are self defeating. Those words put freedom-of-self into a self-imposed exile. I chose to reclaim that freedom.

After

Today I run for myself. I make time. I give myself permission. I am healthier, I’m more even-tempered, and I have more energy to show for it.

I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t say that I ever always love to run. Heck, most days I don’t even like to run. Often, I have to coerce myself into getting out there and putting forth the effort. Sometimes Most of the time my only motivation to run is so that I can eat a second slice of pie and not feel guilty about it.

Yes, I said second slice of pie.

On the majority of my runs, I wage a constant battle with myself to keep going and not to quit–I can be a very tenacious adversary. But on those runs when I chose to fully clear my head and take in the scenery, I am at peace. With the craziness of daily life, there is so much beauty that I simply don’t notice unless I make it a point to really see it. There is humility in remembering that much of my immediate surroundings do not revolve around cooking, cleaning, sports, and laundry.

fall running trail on the 45th parallel

Running reminds me to appreciate the world around me. I love trail running in the early morning because I can watch the woods wake up. I love morning runs along the Bay because I can take in the calm, clear water before the boaters and swimmers liven it up. I love running in the evening and seeing the colors cascade as the sun slips below the horizon. I love being reminded about how, in the grand scheme of things, I am really quite small.

But most of all, I love the way I feel afterward–I never wish I didn’t run–I only regret when I choose not to run.

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