Running, for me, has always been about connecting, forging new bonds and creating friendships. The camaraderie through shared pain, shared joy has taught me more about people and life than spending years in conversations and contemplation. It has been about adding love, consolidating strength and finding meaning in my life.
As we run harder, deeper into the loneliness, further away from the world and the structure of our lives, we begin to feel strangely elated, detached yet at the same time connected, connected to ourselves. With nothing but our own two legs moving us, we begin to get a vague, tingling sense of who, or what, we really are.
I have talked a lot about all the things that I have learned in life, but I have also learnt a lot in death.
I have learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss.
I also learned that when you are at the rock bottom, there is only one way, the way up.
I learned that in the face of a challenge you can choose joy and meaning.
Lessons about hope, strength, and the light lie within us, that will not be extinguished.
Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience.
It took me a while to learn that I am grateful for each breath in and out, grateful for the gift of life itself.
I celebrate more. Big events. Small joys. Acts of kindness touch me. I smile more. I cry more.
It is the greatest irony of my life that death helped me find deeper gratitude; gratitude for the kindness of my friends, the love of my family, the laughter of my children.
We are runners. We seek to build resilience. We get uncomfortable on purpose. We push ourselves in training to lean into adversity, and then be strengthened by it. We train ourselves in the art of overcoming.
I will always be grateful to running for making me the person I am today.
Not sure if running found me or I found running!
“It’s the hard days that determine who you are.”
– Sheryl Sandberg