This is the last time I ran. It was an early Sunday morning. May 20th. And I only ran for these photos to be taken. I wanted images of me doing something I love most. In a spot I love most. I wanted them as a memory of this transitionary period.
It feels like I am reaching the end of this very long tunnel. An ending whose existence I often questioned. I hope that I don’t find myself eating these words in a few weeks time and find that the light leaks were merely a mirage. And I don’t mean returning to running, though there is that too. Because I’ve begun to recognize that the loss of running, all the injury, all the trying and striving, and resisting and fighting, has not really been about running at all. It’s been about facing my greatest fears of value and wanting to be worthy of being loved. All of this struggle, or most of it, has been in a flee from fear, of never feeling like enough. I have never felt so powerless or out of control as I have in the past few months. I have felt like an alien in my own body no matter what I do. My mental anguish and striving I’d bet has manifested in the physical. The more I have resisted the more my body and spirit have required my surrender. I am still in the tunnel but already I can feel that there is a real shift and real healing happening. I get it now. I get why athletes say injury is the best thing that happened to them while also saying they don’t wish it on anyone, because you don’t. I would not undo what I have gone through. I would not un-lose my muscle and aerobic fitness. I would not un-lose the pounds. I would not un-cry the tears. I would not undo the bleak valleys I’ve ventured into. I have wanted to at times. I have wanted to go back to the girl I was last June physically and emotionally. I have wanted to be someone else. I have wanted magical answers. There will still be many moments when I do. Deep down though, this is not work I want to procrastinate. It would be more painful to sweep under the rug than to keep putting one muddy foot in front of the other.
Running saved me. Then running broke me. But here in the middle of it all, because my journey on this earth is still going, running has given me more than it has taken taken away. If I continue to let go, continue to surrender, I can see not only a way through, but a way of living that has so much more peace, joy, love, grace, space, and as my beautiful friend pointed out, ‘Life will probably be a lot more fun.’
Photo Credit: Lauren E. Lipscomb