Running has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.
My earliest memories were loading up into our van on Saturday mornings to head to a local race.
My mom could usually coerce 1 or 2 of my siblings to join, but if not it was just me and her.
I remember pinning on the race numbers and shuffling through the crowds to line up. The smell of Icy Hot and 100 different deodorants hung in the air.
At 5 years old I didn’t know why I loved running—I just knew it was my thing. I felt free and independent.
Even in grade school I remember asking my mom if I could run my mile route on hard days.
To the blue mailbox and back.
My mom probably knew something was wrong or on my mind…but she also knew running could fix it. Running is where pain and joy mix together so perfectly that you cannot separate them.
As I got older, running continued being the thing I longed for when emotions were hard.
When I went through a breakup, running healed it.
When our family went through foreclosure my sophomore year, running healed that too.
And when I had my son back in 2012, I figured running would get me through early parenting.
Due to incontinence, that did not work out like I thought. It took a few years to accept this new reality, but eventually I swallowed my pride and returned to running.
Then 2020 brought my Hashimotos diagnosis and another extended break from running.
But as my energy has returned the last 5 months I have slowly returned to the pavement.
And last week while visiting our hometown something magical happened.
My son asked me to go on a run.
I tried to play it cool and not freak out with joy. I tried not to get my hopes up in case he changed his mind.
But the next morning he got dressed and was ready to go.
He has been quieter lately, perhaps dealing with his own emotions. I suddenly realized this was my opportunity to give him that feeling I felt so long ago.
So we walked outside and began his journey in the same town where I began my journey many years ago.
I have no idea how far we went, because it doesn’t matter how far you go.
It’s about doing it. It’s about feeling that freedom.
It’s about going to the blue mailbox and back.