Last year, we bought our first treadmill. I fell in love with it. Who falls in love with exercise equipment, right? There's a screw lost there somewhere....It was all in an effort to get in better shape but I had no idea what running would do to me.
I remember the first time I ran on this machine. I've run before—on other treadmills even—but this experience was so different. Adele played on my iPod, my sons' hands in colored paint were my focal point, and my New Balance shoes were brand spanking new out-of-the-box. I had a liter of Smart Water within reach and I powered up that sucker, ready for a good workout.
It had been a while since I'd run so I paid careful attention to my body, not pushing myself too fast in an eagerness to get moving. And then I kind of...lost myself. I upped the speed on the machine and the volume on the pod.
This strange feeling coiled up from deep in my gut and I exhaled it on one of the deepest breaths I'd ever taken. It felt like my lungs swelled and grew and a lightness in my chest opened me up wide. Thoughts rushed free from my mind and it was just me, the music, the movement. No complications. No distractions. No worries. I closed my eyes and ran and breathed and let it all go.
I remember reaching for my water and thinking my glasses must have fallen off because my vision was that blind kind of blurry. But when I went to towel off my face I realized my glasses were still on and I had been crying. What? How does a person not know they're crying? How ridiculous is that? But I had. My son's little orange hand filled up my eyes and it hit me that there was so much more to this running thing than just exercise. All of these things I didn't know I felt poured out of me and evaporated—things I still don't even recognize.
In a letter to me before my wedding, my father quoted a line from Disney's Splash Mountain ride: "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far." A smart man, my father. I've used that wisdom many times in the last 12 years. After that first euphoric run I realized something about trouble. No, you can't run away from it. But you can run through it.
Trouble will find me. Sometimes that trouble will be of my own making and other times it will find me unaware. But I can push myself onward, breathe deep, and run my way through it. I can choose to keep going even when I don't believe I can. I can fix my sight on something better than myself and work my way toward that. Because there's so much more to this running thing. There's so much more ahead of me. And I'm ready for a good workout.