Running is without a doubt an incredibly powerful force. Most of us can recall a reason that we became motivated to get started. Whether you were looking to loose some weight, escape depression, or escape a bad relationship; running is a means get away.
A few weeks ago, I was preparing for my 18 mile long run early in the morning. As I was eating a bagel and scrolling through Facebook a post hit me. A high school friend posted that her daughter had been diagnosed with a growth on her brain. It was beautifully written and was meant as a way to share with people who had been asking. I had no idea this was going on and was shocked. She ended her note saying that for now they will have to wait and see if it continues to grow before they can figure out what the next step is.
As I sat in our tiny studio here in NYC, I looked over at my husband snuggling with our little girl. My eyes welled up with tears. In that moment, she looked so small and so helpless.
I was so overcome with emotions that I had a really hard time getting out of the door. But I left and headed for Central Park. Three miles into my run as I reached the top of the park, I had a revelation. For the past few years I have worked with a charity program and trained their runners. I have met the families and they have become my friends. I see their children struggle with muscle disease and know that as parents they worry what tomorrow will bring. In that moment, I was overcome by the fear and the love.
My emotions fueled my run. Certain songs on my playlist brought tears to my eyes in new ways. I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran with determination to come home a better mom, more focused on being in the present.
I came home later to Mary playing with my friend Tatiana. She has been a special part of our lives for several years and despite the fact that we both keep moving to different places, we somehow keep ending up back in NYC at the same time. She is also one of the most loving people with children.
I told her what I had read that morning and about my thoughts from my run. And that is when she said that she still can’t get over what happened at Sandy Hook. She asked if I could imagine sending my child to school and having that happen. We were both in NYC working at the ice rink the day that happened. We were teaching school groups of young children. It just felt so incredibly unreal.
This week, another running friend posted this video about a mother who lost her child in the Sandy Hook massacre and how she is using running to move through her grief. I encourage you to watch that video. It is powerful stuff!
Rebecca Kowalski lost her little boy Chase at the age 0f six. He was a triathlete! She wasn’t a runner but she said she uses running as a way to get out of bed each morning. It is difficult for her but she runs because her son can’t. For her this is the only way that she can clear her head from the grief.
Working with a charity, I have heard this so many times. So many friends and family members run because their children or loved ones are not able to.
I myself have had moments in life of heartbreak or despair. There are times when my head is full of questions or fog. The one thing (besides my loving husband of course) that has always been there to help me figure things out and find my way has been running and my faith. The two for me, work hand in hand.
There truly is power in running. There is an unknown force that can help move us in the right direction. It can push us through grief and depression. It can help us find the answers we are searching for. Or it can just allow us a few minutes or hours to be alone with our thoughts and help clean the slate.
As Rebecca says: Hit the pavement, one foot in front of the other.
How do you find power in running?
Check out my girl Tatiana’s blog.