The first few steps out of my house and onto the sidewalk fill me with a sense of freedom. I'm leaving my house behind, with all its worries and responsibilities. I am doing something for myself, something besides the endless barrage of schoolwork that hangs over my head. My feet pound methodically on the pavement and my breathing falls into rhythm with my stride. The darkness surrounds me, so as to give me privacy and time free of distractions. This time is truly a mental break from the world. The nighttime is my absolute favorite time to run. It's just me, the road, and the darkness. The cool darkness means I have the streets to myself. A handful of cars might pass me, but they can't see me. I am alone.
Since I've been running for a while now, I'm able to run a few miles without being distracted by the pain of it. I don't usually count down the minutes until I'm done, because I don't even think about the fact that I'm running. It's almost like my body is running so my mind is free. At the end of the day, I can process what happened, what I need to do tomorrow, and what I want to do five years from now. I have resolved arguments, planned out my day, written a paper in my head, and prayed while running. I have learned to face myself more and to take the critical action of really thinking about myself and my day. Instead of plodding through day after day without pausing to take it all in, I am able to withdraw from it all and ponder.
I feel good about myself when I run. I feel healthy and strong and able. Able to push myself and do something. And sometimes, I'll admit, I feel smug. I do. Not that I'm the world's greatest runner or even that I have talent as a runner. But that I am committed to something. I am committed to trying to be healthy - and running is the best way for me to do that, both physically and mentally. :) Running gives me this inexplicable surge of hope and euphoria. I just feel so in control of my life, so in tune with God, and just really at peace. Even if I go on a run because I am totally pissed and I need to get my frustration out, I end up feeling better. It's amazing.
Running isn't about competition or goals for me. I run when I want to and don't when I don't. I might improve a little now and then, but overall, I'm not a fast runner, I don't run everyday, and I can't run forever. But no one knows, no one judges me, it's MY thing. And that's what I love. I hope I'll be able to do it forever.