Running Giveth and Running Taketh Away (Maybe)

She got legs.
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have miles to go before I sleep.” –Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Running gave me confidence I didn’t know I lacked. My body changed internally and externally and I surprised myself by achieving things I had considered out of my league and moreover out of my reach.

Then I had a disappointing race experience at the end of a phenomenal training season.  Which led to more disappointing races.  And what running had given me, it just as quickly snatched.

I stopped believing in myself–well, I confirmed that I was out of my league and my running goals were out of my reach.  No, I didn’t exactly say that to myself, but I performed according to that belief–never able to give myself over to training without fear of “failing.”  In fact, I even over-trained to injury out of that same fear.

The mind really does lead the body, y’all.

Here’s the thing: a few short years ago I would’ve broken.  It was at that ledge that I finally found my glitch.  Dysthymia.  Chronic depression.  It’s like living in grey.  No high highs, no low lows; a generally low capacity for pleasure in everyday life that can make sufferers withdraw from stress and avoid opportunities for failure.

Check, check, and check.  Instead of meds, there was exercise.  Which eventually began to fail and then, boom: running.

Recently, as I started worrying that running had taken something from me–and maybe it did–I’ve discovered something else it’s gifted me.

Running gives me the chemical balance that keep the straws from getting too heavy; keeps me from breaking.  I’m impressed that  I’ve kept on going, even as the gains haven’t been apparent; even as I’ve felt a little–okay full disclosure–like a failure.  And I’m thankful.

Running has gifted me with my life but more than that, an appreciation of it.  It reminds me, especially these days, that nothing that has tried to break me has succeeded.  And if I can’t glean confidence from that I can certainly be satisfied with it.  And in the way of my grey, y’all, that’s some real good-good. (And so much better than the alternative).

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