Running is a lot like life. For starters, it’s a journey. A long one. If you look at the distance as a whole, you become overwhelmed. There is too far to travel, too much to cover; your mind cannot comprehend it and you become more exhausted.
But if you focus only on what’s right in front of you, it becomes manageable. If you can just make it to that pole, then to that shadow, where the two ducks are sitting, passed the man in the blue sneakers, to that third tree; it doesn’t seem so huge. Little by little. Take each piece one at a time.
Sometimes you will run with some friends by your side, perhaps a lover. Sometimes you will run alone. Sometimes you will trip over – and yes, it will be embarrassing, but you will get over it. Sometimes someone will be there to help pick you up, but sometimes you will have to do it on your own.
You may pass people, those you only see for a brief amount of time. Others you will see a lot more of, perhaps even jog near them for a while. And some will be there every day, just like you.
You might hurt your ankle, or pull a muscle, but if you take good care of it, or take it easy for a little while, it will heal. Sometimes breathing will be heavy, difficult, like knives in your chest when you heave.
Others it will be steady, controlled, fresh air filling your lungs and making you feel more alive. Sometimes your legs may burn and it becomes harder, but you have to keep going. You cannot stop because if you do, you’re not sure you’ll be able to start again.
Nobody said you couldn’t slow down. A slow jog is sometimes what you need to regroup your energy, to figure out where to go next. A sprint may come when you least expect it; or perhaps you’ve been preparing for it for a while. If you need to, you can walk. Just keep strolling. Feel free to wander; it’s not always about how fast you can go.
Sometimes you simply need to enjoy the ride.