by V. Kowalewski
I was a competitive 3-sport jock in high school, but I hated running. HATED. IT. Many years and several pounds later I decided I’d take up running as a way to get in shape and lose some weight. My first run was to a small bridge over a creek ½ mile away from my house. I SERIOUSLY thought I was going to die before I got to the end of the block, and I was pretty sure that bridge was getting further away instead of closer.
That experience was humbling to say the least. It hurt my pride and kinda pissed me off. So I signed up for the Bellringer 5 mile run in my hometown over 4th of July. They had a 2 mile, but hey where’s the challenge. I did the 5. And peed myself halfway through. And poured water from the water stations down my front hoping to camouflage the fact that I had just run so hard I’d lost control of my bladder yet was one of the last to finish.
These feet have seen a lot of miles in the 20+ years since that first run and I would have to say without a doubt every last one of them served a purpose. Miles for strength. Miles to challenge myself. Miles running away from grief and stress. Miles to purge despair and emptiness. Miles for peace and harmony. Miles for new adventures and experience. Miles to celebrate being alive. Miles to just BE BETTER.
As I’ve grown older the focus definitely has become more about just challenging myself and enjoying the absolute snot out of the journey. These days I treasure every mile I’m able to put in. Time is precious and every mile has meaning. They’re not all glorious and effortless, but they’re not all suffering and toil either. It is what it is, and right now it’s GOOD.
Why do I run? Because life truly is a gift, and of all the things I do to stay as healthy as possible so that I can ENJOY the gift running is what makes me feel the most….ALIVE. Thanks, running friends, for all your support and encouragement on this amazing journey!