Recently, I have found a new way to fulfill what little time I have. Well, it is not a new thing to most of you, but to me it is a visitation to my old days. I have taken up exercising for anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours a day.
It all started when the service VP from my sorority required us to do twenty miles for Alex’s Lemonade Stand- Childhood Cancer Research. She told us we could get up to five service hours for this project, and with a requirement of twenty-five hours a semester I needed all the hours I could get. Every ten miles equaled one service hour. On Labor Day weekend, I decided to stay at school for the weekend and spend time with friends versus going home. Two of my sorority sisters invited me to go hiking in the Smokies with them. Without hesitation, I agreed. As time went on, I was incredibly nervous for the experience. I gained beyond the freshmen weight that college students are stereotyped for. I had not worked on months. They told me it was an eight-mile hike round trip, and that it was easily doable. They convinced me that the view would be well worth it.
I woke up the next morning, and we drove to our destination. We hiked and saw one of the most incredible scenes of creation. I was amazed with not only the view, but also with myself and the journey I embarked. By the end of that day, after hiking and walking around campus, I finished with twelve miles in for the day. I liked the reward of how I felt after I did so many miles. The next day, I took a trip to the journey. I start off doing cycling. I on average would get eight to nine miles in. I also would walk three to four miles on campus. On top of that, every day, I tried to run at least one mile. By the end of the month I started adding in various ellipticals and further running distances. I complete September with over 300 miles of exercise. The start of October was a more motivating month. I desire to see a physical difference, so I pushed myself more and more. No matter how much I would like you and myself to believe that my intentions for running and exercising are due to a desire in physical change. However, it goes deeper than that.
Tying my shoes, putting on headphone in each ear, I am preparing to escape my overwhelming, unnecessary stress. This is what happens when I go exercise. I walk into the gym, and I go directly to whichever machine I choose. I throw myself into what I am doing simply to avoid thinking. Drowning myself in the music, eliminating all distractions. Sometimes I read a book when I am cycling. I go through notecards as I am running. I repeat acronyms to prepare for a test as I am on the CrossBuilder. I have chosen to bottle up all of my stress and use that energy to be productive and go further than I ever imagined. I have learned to keep running. When I realize the realities of things I put on the back burner, check my bank account and notice I have less money than I thought, see the fullness of my calendar, or unwillingly face the uncertainty of what will happen in the future I grab my running shoes, fill up my water bottle, and push through the pain.
For some people, running is to keep them in shape. For others, it is to prepare them for a sport. For myself, running is the best way for me to cope with my stress. I can push through the mental and physical pain while seeing an end result. After a good exercise, I feel as if I can conquer the day. I forget why I was so worried about financial means or what I have to complete. It is almost as if I cannot be content. Something always comes up, one after the other, and I have only found one way to deal with it. Running. I keep on running. I run until I cannot anymore. Then as those thoughts slip back into my mind, I run again. Some of you will tell me to grow up, and deal with my stress but when I cannot put into words what I am so worried about there is no way I can fix the problem. I have to run and run until I feel safe with my thoughts or until I have eliminated them. I keep on running.