By Alicia Shay
Truthfully, I had a great nutrition article written and ready to post. However, as I glanced over the words I had typed out, their importance seemed to pale in comparison to how the nation of Japan is suffering right now. For the last several days, every time I step outside to go for a run I feel conflicted. For the first mile my legs feel heavy and my heart feels even heavier. Images of a country ravaged by an earthquake, a tsunami and now nuclear dangers play through my mind. My thoughts range from sorrow to prayer to grief to hopelessness and to hope. As the seconds tick by, eventually my pace quickens, the heaviness starts to lift and the urge to stop disappears as I press forward.
At times like this, I simply can’t help but ask myself why I run. When a country is torn apart in the matter of a day and is suffering beyond comprehension, why am I running? The truth is that when everything around me is falling apart, I find such a clarity and freedom to FEEL things when I run. With so much devastation in our world, it is so easy to become numb to the tragedies that we are surrounded by. However, for some reason, when I lace up my running shoes and step outside, the noise of the world around me dissipates to a quiet murmur. I feel my heart break for the nation of Japan, my heart breaks for the recent loss of elite distance runner, Sally Meyerhoff and her family, my heart breaks for the desperate needs in the community that I live in.
In light of everything that is going on, every step that I take, I do with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. I run simply because it allows me to feel my life circumstances- the sorrows and triumphs, the joy and grief, strength and weakness. When I run, I find clarity, perspective and hope. Running awakens my mind and heart to really feel life as it passes by day after day. For me, the simplicity and freedom of running is a gift that I will never take for granted.
Why do you run?