My Love Affair with Running
By: Kelly Keenan Trumpbour
It was a hot, sticky summer afternoon when I first stepped onto the black pavement of my neighborhood and began panting. I thought I might die. My chest felt like whips were slicing against my lungs. I congratulated myself for making it half a mile, and then called it a day.
I was fifteen years old, and had committed to a modest running program after begging my parents for fencing lessons. My father, who has run four miles every other day for 45 years, knew I could not enjoy my new sport if I did not have the endurance training to back it up. Sticking to my promise, I continued with the program and gradually made it up to roughly two miles, picking cooler moments rather than endure the blazing midday sun. I improved tremendously as an athlete, no longer pleading with my coach for a little tiny break in the relentless drill sessions that came every Tuesday and Thursday night.
There were other, unexpected benefits to my new pastime. I found a wonderful outlet that provided an inner meditation as my legs pumped beneath me. The in and out of my breath no longer felt like whips but instead induced a steady calm over my body.
Sometimes staying in shape was the last thing on my mind as I grabbed my tennis shoes and raced out the door. Over the years I have run with tears streaming down my face as the lows of breakups, letdowns and seemingly overwhelming obstacles stepped in my path. I have also run with the power of angels at my heels wishing joy to the world as I reveled in the mighty swells of new found love, incredible opportunities, and hard earned victories. These are the highs and lows, but most of the time I just take in the steadiness of the run.
These days I run on a wooded trail, accompanied by a meandering stream. Often I listen to some of my favorite music as dusk begins to turn the sky pink then indigo. A particular chord will set my body into free flight, and as the worn path blurs beneath me, I lift my eyes to the rising moon and feel my lungs, arms, and legs working in perfect unison. I marvel that my body is at play while working so hard. It is a wonder of creation, and with the wind prickling at my cheek I feel gratitude radiate inside me for these limbs that carry me, the health I enjoy, and for the very fact that I am alive.