Every time I hear these lyrics from Kenny Chesney, my mind takes off. I always have a flood of memories and flashbacks that lead me to where I am today. Weird? Crazy? I don’t know but it happens. It’s not always in a bad way because when I reflect on a lot of the tough times I’ve been through, it empowers me and realizes what I am truly capable of.
I heard these lyrics today during my run and the emotional flood unfolded. Running has always been SO emotional for me because for the longest time that’s all I had. It was my therapist, my confidant, my accomplishments, and my goals. After I finished my swimming career, I became a land creature and turned to running. I started running short races, mostly hungover in the FL Heat (wicked smaht) and it was how I “regulated” my weight. I put that in quotations because for the longest time, it was no where near regulated. I would binge on sugar or drinks and then justify it by running 6-8 miles. Not happy but that was how my life was.
After my mid-life crisis (i.e turning 25), I decided to set the goal of running a marathon, 26.2 miles the year I turned 26. This was emotional for me because again I trained most of it in the Florida heat and ran most of my long runs hungover 75% of the time. I ran Chicago in 2008 (wow I’m getting old). My papa and one of my good friends came to cheer me on and for that I am forever grateful. But I wanted a bf or hubby to be there to care and share my accomplishments. Yet no one was in the picture. I was proud of myself and set the goal to try and run NYC. I was denied for a few years and then got a spot in the lottery in 2011. At this point of my life, my running relationship was a *little* healthier. I was in DC at the time and had just graduated grad school, where I had gotten down to my lowest adult weight (basically by counting every calorie in and running 6-8 miles) and was not really happy because I was lonely.
When I started training for NYC, my outlook was a little better and I was feeling more comfortable in my own skin (had gained back some of my weight lost) and was working a job that I loved and had found my calling. Finally ready to settle in and create a life for myself in the DC/MA/VA area. And then I met my husband. Because of course, I was loving life and confident within myself and found my perfect match.
So this time around I had my love while running a marathon, but he couldn’t be there because of work. Totally understandable and I had my entire immediate family with me. This again meant the world to me. After my marathakn, a ran a little for fun and then to get into wedding shape. Resorting to my old habits of counting calories and running 6-8 miles and it evening out. I got pregnant shortly after and didn’t run until after Bear was born.
Running again became an emotional event. I remember my first run back and it HURT and was hot. But I did it. I shortly, thereafter, set a goal to run the Disney half marathon to help motivate me to lose the baby weight. Brilliant in theory but challenging with a clingy baby. I was able to cross train with a run or two a week when the hubby was off.
But I did it. I cried as I cross the finish line (and on and off during the last 3 miles) both tears of joys, accomplishment, and pain lol. Running again got me through a goal and chapter of my life. After this I went on a running hiatus again, running for fun and not as my main source of exercise since I had found Beachbody programs that helped me stay in the best shape of my life. But a good run has always cleared my mind. I ran a few times while pregnant with Bree until it got too much and only a handful of times since but I have felt strong and refreshed after.
A few weeks ago, I suggested running a 5 mile race to my husband that we could run together. It was a lottery race this year and I didn’t know if we would be get in. We did and it’s emotional again lol I’m glad we will be running together (whether we run it side by side is tbd). We haven’t done anything like this and I’m super happy we have the opportunity to do it. Today was one of my first training runs (part of a hybrid running and workout program that I created) and I was only going to run 2 miles. I pushed myself to run 3.3 because I needed to clear through the emotions and some things in my head. I’m glad I pushed myself and hope that my body feels the same way this weekend. HahaI think running will always be an emotional place for me because we have been through so much together-processing heartache, death, babies, joys, and sorrows and I am thankful that I am at a place where it is healthy again instead of punishment or justification for making unhealthy choices. All of which I wouldn’t change because it’s lead me to where I am today, and there is no other place I’d rather be than here.