Running In The Dark
I refused to run outdoors during the daytime. I didn’t want the public to see me chug-a-lugging around town looking like an injured animal. My lack of physical endurance was not something I wanted to flaunt to my neighbors. Instead, three days per week, I waited for the sun to set, and then I brought all of my coughing, limping, sweating, and grunting to the local middle school track.
I ran in the dark.
I remained a closet runner for 4 years. Running was my secret. In the shadows of the night, I jogged one repetitive lap after another, and slowly I transformed myself into a runner. I wanted my body to be able to glide smoothly around the track without fail. I wanted to deserve the perks of being a runner. Running became my personal challenge.
Each night spent on the track, I challenged my legs; just make it one more lap, my lungs; steady breathing for five more minutes, and my mind; stay strong and remain focused. Gradually, I increased my weekly visits to the track. Three, four, five, six, and eventually seven nights per week I circled around the quarter mile loop.
One mile without a break. Two miles without pause. Three miles without a coughing fit. Four miles without shakiness.
Five Miles Of Pride
I decided to try for five miles, a distance I had never attempted before.
Several minutes later, I finished my 20th lap, put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath as I let the fact that I had just ran 5 miles sink in. As I walked one more cool-down lap around the track, it hit me; I was a runner.
From that day forward, I didn’t care if people saw me jogging.
Running In Daylight
The truth is though, awards, faster times, and the ability to run greater distances are just perks of being a runner. They come with the territory.
Knowing that I can challenge myself, push myself beyond my comfort zone, dedicate myself to a goal, and be successful is what makes me continue running. It’s the experiences, adventures, and happiness that I have gathered during my 12 years as a runner that fill me with pride.
I have transformed myself into a runner.
I am no longer a closet runner. Now, I run anywhere under the sun.
I am a runner, and this is what makes me proud.