“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” My flight is running. Running was all about the body, perceiving every pound of the pavement. Every screeching muscle, every pant, every gasp. Running was my mind letting go, my body taking over, sensations flooding everything out, filling me up.
It was about four years ago, the very first time I went running. I never really went running prior to that, I don’t know what encouraged or made me but I’m glad I did. I laced up my sneakers, went on the track and started sprinting. I was clueless to all the rules or how-tos on running but I was ready to learn. For the first time in my life I experienced a different kind of happiness. Every step strained my burning muscles. Sweat dripped within my eyes, stinging them with salt. With tight lungs, and shortness of breath, the earth raced beneath me. All the while the only logic I could form was why am I doing this.
The grace of running branches from choice. The choice to survive and advance. The oblivious of the next trail to conquer. To be able to be free is the many treasures of running. On a run, the infinite paths expose themselves. Pain is just another obstacle and you must overcome it. Speed, distance, and form are all related. Running releases more than just sweat, it releases all your stress and worries you have trapped inside of you. It makes you feel free. It shows you your limits and you push yourself beyond those limits. Running teaches you that your only limit is yourself. These are the reasons I run. After four years, I no longer question my love for running, I have found my answer.
Runners are a divergent group. We bond through the appreciation of discomfort, by moving slowly to the side when another runner is puffing up a sizable hill, or by supporting one another with a slight nod when our routes cross on a trail. We attempt to push far beyond our second breaking point while most normal people would give up far before their first.
But running isn’t a pretty sport all the time. You come home with mud, sweat, and even maybe an injury. I didn’t listen when everyone was telling me the trail I wanted to go on was dangerous. I mean, sure it was dangerous, but it was also so beautiful. One thing led to another and I came across an uneven surface. My right leg went left and my knee went right and I collapsed. I went to the emergency room and after many tests we came to the conclusion that I dislocated my right knee and will need physical therapy and surgery to get back strong. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t cry when I found out I wouldn’t be running for a long time.
This injury is worse than any cold, flu, or any other injury I have ever gotten. It’s keeping me from doing the one thing I deeply love: running. Knowing that I won’t be back running soon genuinely breaks my heart but I know that it is time to get strong again. Take it from me and always always always take rest days, run carefully, and don’t go on dangerous trails even though they look so cool. However, I believe that every bad experience can have a good outcome. My injury has been a horrible experience but going to physical therapy made me learn more about the job. There’s a certain atmosphere and the thought of helping others just satisfies me. I now aspire to be a physical therapist.