When I began running I just had one goal. I wanted to complete a marathon. More than anything else, I think I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Since I wasn’t really athletic in any other capacity, I told myself, “I can put one foot in front of the other. I”m strong mentally and have plenty of determination. This will be good for me.” So that was it. I began my training to knock this thing off my bucket list. I had no idea that this running thing would turn into much more than just crossing the finish line in a marathon.
The first few weeks were fairly normal. I did my daily runs and tried to get enough rest to have the energy to run my next one. Then, I began my long runs on Saturdays. Although I labelled them “long runs” in my training log, they were more like “short runs”, 2-4 miles at first. Every week I added a mile to my long runs. I did all of my training at an old Civil War battlefield. Most Saturdays I was the only one there. So, I took my iPod for entertainment. I ran every weekend beginning early in the mornings. After about 2 months I hit one of my first big milestones, double digit mileage!
At that point I was pretty excited about all that I had accomplished so far, but it was getting challenging. Physically, the running was beginning to get to me, so I knew I had to rely on my mental strength to get me through the rest of it. After all, I wasn’t even halfway to my goal yet! What had I gotten myself into? But I didn’t come this far to quit. So I kept running, and then something almost magical happened.
The physical pain disappeared. The heaviness of my legs lightened. My energy went back to the fresh level it was before I even began my run. It was unbelievable. It was truly what a lot of people call a second wind. Was it a fluke? Absolutely not. Things changed for me that day.
I realized that I could generate reserves of energy that most novice runners never tap into just because they’ve never had to. I was absorbing energy from every piece of nature around me. I began running without my iPod. I didn’t need music anymore. It seemed that I was creating my own rhythms in my footsteps and my heartbeat. Once I wrapped my mind around the fact that I could just run and run and run as long as I kept my focus I knew that running could be a powerful form of meditation. Running became my way of connecting with myself and the world around me in a way that unified my spirit and gave me the belief that much more is possible than we usually believe. We just have to tap into our higher powers.