Running is a chance for you to do nothing else except focus on yourself and be alone with your thoughts. Often times, this is the last situation we want to be in, just us and our thoughts, but once in a while, you need to take that time and reflect, to get away from everything around you, without locking yourself in your bedroom. With running, there’s no opportunity to refresh your Twitter feed, reply back to an email, or answer a phone call from your friend to talk about how difficult that finance test was. It’s just you, yourself, and your two grounded feet.
I like to think of running like a journey through life; it has its exciting times, its obstacles, and times where you just want to give up on yourself. But it doesn’t end there. Just as life keeps going, you keep running. It has its peaks and valleys, its phases for the good and sometimes the bad. As Dory would say, “Just keep swimming.” But in this case, “Just keep running.”
Phase I: Adrenaline
You’ve prepared, looping laces around the index finger while your thumbs hold them in place. The laces bring together the shoe, hugging it tighter around your foot and knotting it in place. You push off your right foot, standing tall, taking a deep breath in to help track your breathing and lower your heart beat. The sirens go off. People are racing around you and the first wave is dense, just like when your day starts bright and early during rush hour. Shoulder to shoulder on the subway, or speed walking as everyone is hustling to get to work or to class.
It’s go time.
Phase II: Regret
A third of your way into the run, your breathing gets heavier, drying up your throat, slowing down your steady pace. A cramp forms right at your ribs and you can’t not think about it, so you start to walk. Your thoughts go from excitement to “Why didn’t I practice more? Am I really this out of shape? I guess the cookies last night didn’t help. Why can’t I run like everyone around me? I suck. I can’t do this. I’ll never finish. I could just give up now.” When you run, what you think turns into what you believe. Your negative thoughts can end up affecting the way you run, so you do your best to change your mindset and get back on track.
In our daily lives, we have a routine. Sometimes we go off track when our thoughts get to the best of us. But the people around us remind us why we do this, why we keep going. In a run, you can be surrounded by a few to thousands of runners who are going through similar experiences you are. In your work space or in a class, the feeling is the exact same way. Surrounding yourself with inspiring and motivating people will help you get through the tougher times. Be that person that lifts others up.
It’s go time.
Phase III: Determination
You see the finish line and it’s like the light at the end of a tunnel. That’s what keeps you going; knowing that you’ve accomplished something more than crossing the finish line once you get there. “It’s not about the destination, but about the journey,” and where you’ll be going from there. It doesn’t end after the finish line, it’s just started. It’s up to you to figure out how you want to treat and train your body after that. Is this run going to be just another time you said you’ll make this a routine but never did, or will you keep going, finding time, even with your busy schedule, to devote to your physical health. What’s next for you?
It’s go time.