Have you ever experienced a truly emotionally run?
Sure, there are days when you squeeze a run in when you can, and it suits the purpose to get in some mileage, get home, showered and on with the rest of your day. You’ve got things to do and the run is just something you do right before the next place you need to be.
Then there are the runs that help to jump-start your mind. These are the highly productive runs that can make you feel like an Olympic athlete, mom of the year, and CEO all rolled into one. A mental house cleaning run enables you to get inside your head and visit each room one-by-one, prioritizing and creating mental “to-do” lists. These runs are pretty awesome, and always bring about a huge sense of accomplishment because you feel like you not only got your run in, but you simultaneously sorted through your life’s worries and changed your mental “to- do’s” into practical “to- done’s”. No list is too great when you’re high on Endorphins. You can do it all. Bring it.
Once in a while I even have a run that I would consider to be a serious training run. These are the runs where the entire time my legs are moving and my heart is pumping hard within my chest, I’m concentrating on an upcoming race, and mentally preparing myself for how I might feel on race day. These runs are comprised of mental body scans…connecting directly with every twinge or ache that might be talking to me and sending little warnings from my hip or Achilles to my brain. I go inside my head and think about what race day may bring- the mileage that day; the heat or weather; and how I will feel in my head, and my stomach, and, of course, crossing the finish line.
Then there are the emotional runs. The ones that feel like I’m the only person on the planet, and my legs feel powerful and strong but my mind is a blank canvas – until I hear a certain song on my iPod, or a very emotionally charged thought pops into my head, and stays there like a cement kite. The thought runs with the rhythm of my legs and moves me emotionally, often times evoking tears that make my even breathes feel like exercise induced asthma. I can count on one hand how many times I have burst out into an audible sob while I was running. Today I added one more to that count on my virtual Abacus.
The weather today is cold, so I had to psyche myself up to go outside to run. Often times these end being my best runs – much like the nights when you don’t want to go to a party, but you tell yourself you’ll only stay for an hour, and end up staying until 2:00 a.m. I stepped out into the crisp early January air with the hope of getting a 30 minute post-holiday mental house cleaning run, but ended up with an emotionally driven and empowering 90 minute run instead.
At about 20 minutes into the run I was feeling quite tall, and my legs were machines set to auto-pilot. I wasn’t cold anymore, and everything seemed right in the world. Even the sun came out, causing me to squint like a happy, rebellious Vampire. My IPod was set to shuffle because I like my music to surprise me, and to see how my body reacts to the random eclectic playlists that are chosen for me. When Swedish House Mafia’s “ Don’t You Worry Child” played in my ears- I was instantly transported into my soul, and felt that the song was not only written for me from my father, but that it was specifically chosen for me to hear today- while my mind, body and soul had its full attention, and could properly receive its message.
As a child I had some trauma that wasn’t dealt with properly, and as a result there were some pretty dark times in my life as a young, blossoming adult. I was a hot house flower with a hot head, trying to survive in an (often self-imposed) cold world. I never felt sorry for myself, which is a good thing, but there were some out -of -control years that I’m not proud of, with the period between age 21 until about 28 among my worst. These were the years that the anger, self hate, and feelings of worthlessness reared their ugly head and I was given the choice to do the work and slay the beast, or to become the beast. I was admittedly scared. It was extremely frightening to think about where my life was going to end up, and to face the long road of confronting my inner demons, and forgiving those who wronged me, while learning to love myself. These were daunting and seemingly impossible tasks at that time.
The one and only person who always stood by me, even at my worst, was my dad. He was my rock, and he always told me that heaven had a plan for me. He used those words. He believed in me when no one else did, and constantly told me that I didn’t need to worry. My father is no longer alive, but his love for me- and the messages he wishes to remind me of- are often placed in my heart while I’m running. This time I heard it loud and clear, even though I keep my iPod volume way too high, and I burst into a sob. My legs just kept going (while my breathing was chopped to bits) choosing to ignore the cries, as if they had their own set of ear buds with the volume cranked too high.
The tears weren’t all about me, however, and the message was two-fold, because it brought to light the many emails, phone calls and conversations that come from so many of my girls in GWS. They often tell me how scared they are; how out of control their lives feel; and how they fear their feelings of worthlessness or ugliness will never go away.
It’s now my turn to be the rock and to let them know there is a plan for them. The plan is to show them that there are people in their lives that care- and that I know things can seem hopeless, but if you take care of yourself and stay healthy and strong with exercise and hard work on yourself – anything is possible. The plan is for me to be there and to bring Girls With Sole to them, so that, they can bring themselves across life’s many finish lines.
“Don’t you worry child, see, heaven has a plan for you.”