My race has finally arrived. Tomorrow morning at 6:22 AM, I will set out and run 13.1 miles, across the piers, over the Golden Gate Bridge and back, by the Presidio and Baker Beach, and end at Golden Gate Park. Then I’ll get a medal, put my jacket back on to stay warm in the San Francisco summer fog, and I’ll head back home. That will be it. I have been preparing for this mentally for a year, and that will be it.
I have realized, however, that running has changed me. I feel differently about myself, I feel I am capable of things I was never before capable of. Running has become the lens through which I view the world. It is my reprieve, my reality, my above-reality. It is how I understand my body and my surroundings, and it is how I measure my day. No matter what emotions I have felt throughout the afternoon, I channel them through my legs and arms, and they clear away with the wind.
Once a runner, always a runner, as they say. And so I do believe I will be signing up for a full marathon next spring. In the interim, I am going to try out rock climbing, lots more yoga, biking through the city, and anything else that comes my way. I’ll always love my afternoon runs though. I don’t think I can live without them anymore. I run away my cares, and those runs have made me who I am.