My feet pound the pavement, and my eyes are fixated on my next target, a tall lamppost in the distance. Running is a passion of mine, even though it may not be a popular one. People often think I am crazy. "You actually like running?" They scowl.
Obviously, running is not a mutual friend of ours. I just shrug my shoulders.
It is a difficult passion to explain. Running can make you feel like you have superpowers or like you are completely hopeless in a matter of minutes. While my family of runners strongly influenced me to join in the fun, I also stuck with running because I love the challenge. I love how you can will yourself to move faster when only a few seconds before you were thinking of stopping.
It's a mental sport. I understand the awful feeling of trying to run a long distance in the heat. I know all too well how it feels to think you are too out of shape or too slow or too sore to finish. What people do not always realize is that you have much more control than you think. When you are racing up that hill or coasting down the boardwalk and all of a sudden you are cursed with a brutal cramp, hear me out before you stop your momentum and blame it on the food you ate before. When you are cruising down along a busy road and the sun comes out from behind the clouds, listen to me before you stop and blame your discomfort on the weather.
Okay, are you still running? Okay, good. Now, lift your head up. You probably just realized you were looking down at the ground solemnly. Look straight ahead. Stand tall, and mark out a spot in the distance. Reaching that next mailbox is your new goal. Do you see what you just did? Right when you thought you couldn't take any more pain, you did. You made it.
All of a sudden you have a new perspective on running. Okay, fine, maybe you and running are still strictly acquaintances, but you have just learned something so cool about yourself. You are capable of doing much more than you give yourself credit for. You took control. You put out a positive attitude, and you got positive results in return.
That is why I love running. That is why it makes me feel alive. When life throws you in for a challenge, you don't back down. You square up, you roll those shoulders back, and, most importantly, you face straight ahead.