Runners love to wax poetic. A run is never just a run. Many runners (myself very much included) use running to cope, and we project our neuroses on to the road. The marathon symbolizes our journey. The hill symbolizes our personal obstacles. The bib number symbolizes our preordained lot in life…(just me on that one?)
But running doesn’t have to be anything more than it is. It’s exercise and endorphins. It’s sunshine and sweat. Just left foot, right foot — no Freudian analysis needed.
I ran a community fun run this morning just because I could. The race had a holiday theme, so most runners were more concerned with their festive gear than with competing. There were no medals. There was no goody bag. The event wasn’t even chip timed. I laced up at the start line next to a gingerbread man and several reindeer. I ran my heart out, with nothing to prove to anyone. I had an absolute blast.
Most days I’m grateful that I can channel my issues into running. A bad day becomes motivation and a hard run becomes a metaphor. Some people find peace in therapy; I find peace on the road.
I’m a healthier and saner person because I have running as an outlet, but it felt great not to overthink today’s race. I turned off my brain, I put one foot in front of the other, and I remembered why I actually love to run — because it’s really, really fun.