The alarm goes off, and part of me just wants to crawl back into bed. The kids lay down for a nap, and I look at the treadmill knowing that I need to get on there. There may be some slight hesitation initially, but my body knows, it remembers, and that urges me on.
The first moment I hit my stride I feel it to the core of my soul, a peace descends as the adrenaline starts to course through my veins, my body eases into the comfortable rhythm it has memorized over the years, and I feel the stress pouring out of my body, mingled with sweat.
My steady breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the treadmill are a song to me, and they provide the background music as I replay events of the day, think through what’s coming. For some reason, this process has always been soothing to me. Meditating on how I am spending my time, the friendships in my life, the events planned for the week. Saying a prayer for a friend or family member as they come to mind, and maybe humming a praise song or meditating on the words.
Some days I need a challenge, and I need to be completely consumed with running. I don’t want to think, I just want to feel my body working, being pushed to the limit. I usually do speed intervals on those days, and challenge myself by increasing the speed and time of the intervals, seeing how long I can go, and then taking a break before pushing myself again.
I love the feeling after a run, being in touch with my body in a special way, noticing what an amazing thing it is- noticing all my muscles and how they work together, appreciating the design and the Creator of this flesh that houses my soul.
I believe that running adds a critical balance to my life, and as I get older I find comfort in returning to this ritual again and again. While so many things in our lives change, it is good to have some things that stay the same.
That’s why I love to run.