Running in Spite of My Insecurities
My open letter to running:
Today I ran. I put on my cloak of invisibility (my hoodie), wings of mercury (my Nikes), and my headphones (my shields). I remember the longing I felt yesterday when I saw someone running through my neighborhood. A gamut of emotions ran through my head as I got in the car – “You don’t have time. What about this thing for work? What about that thing for school?” I am in the parking lot starting to stretch thinking about how much time it will take me to do this while I turn up my Incubus or dubstep or 80s rock loud to jam the enemy’s negative signals and I go. My feet hurt my knees hurt; my body and mind are revolting against me. “Am I already out of breath? Just quit no one will know.”
I look down and notice the quarter mile marker – “OK, let’s keep going.” I think about all the things that need to be done that day then notice again that my feet hurt. I need better shoes, but I feel better and settle into my pace. One mile down – OK let’s keep going. I struggle with my breathing but I see a jogger in front of me and speed up to pass them. I think to myself they may have well been standing still. Mister Mediocrity constantly tries to talk me into stopping, but I brush him off, knowing what I am capable of. With that, my confidence builds as I know that I will have to brush him off a thousand more times today.
One and half miles down, “Let’s keep going.” A monarch butterfly joins me for a short time; I wonder “Am I keeping up with him or him me?” I can’t help but to think it is my dad just letting me know he is there and I distinctly hear him say “Good job mijo.”
Two miles down. I think about the mistake I made at work a few days ago, about the argument I had with my wife and how I could’ve handled it better. I wonder if I am doing everything I can to be a solid role model to my son and an example of what my daughter should expect out of a man.
Three miles down. I think to myself “If you walk now you will never get that momentum back. C’mon! Let’s keep going.” I start my kick. Quarter mile to go I pick it up, imagining my demons are reaching for me, steps closer to pulling me back into the dark. “Not today,” I say out loud as I sprint to the end, making sure I don’t quit even a step before the white line. My chest hurts, I can’t breathe, and I sit on the grass – done. I turn back to see what I just did and started to feel a little bit accomplished.
I didn’t run from my doubts, insecurities and shortcomings. I ran in spite of them. I give the bridge a middle finger. I hope the person behind me doesn’t take offense. I pushed through, and took control of just one thing as my anxiety was chipping away at any chance to have a good day. Even though my self-confidence was dwindling, I did it. I ran anyway. Despite that little voice inside telling me I couldn’t. I kept going. So on with the rest of the day. No sweat. Every other challenge pales in comparison to the four miles I just smashed. I reflect on what I was worried about earlier and how I felt.
They were just thoughts, and it’s the same battle I fight almost every day with those same thoughts. Today I ran, from unworthiness, guilt, shame, depression, addiction, temptation, anxiety, regret and that smallness I feel when I am not at my best.
Today I ran. I ran with one foot in front of the other again and again. So today I ran and against all odds. I just kept going.
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