I had just started on a new job last month, and like any life-altering events, I was full of uncertainty about my place in a new environment. I had stayed four years in my previous work as a crisis counselor, and I loved what I did. However, life does happen, and I had decided to take on a new challenge.
Anyway, despite it being a pressure- and anxiety-filled month for me, I still grabbed the chance to go home to the province and be with my family for a much longed-for and much awaited family reunion and thanksgiving gathering. But there was another—and unarticulated—reason that I went; I had to go back to running.
Not that I stopped running, exactly. It’s just that after the Tara Run 15k Race last month, I felt a bit tired. Tired of the same running route, the same distance, the same running schedule, the same everything. Thus, I found thousands of ways not to run after that: it was raining, I had to meet a friend, I had to wake up early the next day, I had to stay late to turn over my workload to a colleague, I felt heavy, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Some were not a good excuse, but nevertheless, it did its purpose; it stopped me from lacing my shoes and going out the door.
After all, I told myself, it was not necessary for me to train. There was no longer-distance race in the next few months anyway, just the usual 10k fun runs. No need to run everyday.
Still, I felt bad, anxious, and a bit ambivalent in my feelings about running. Because I felt envious whenever I saw a runner, I brought running gear with me wherever I went. However, days and weeks passed and my running apparel remained packed in my bag.
So when my brother offered to pay for my trip back home, I grabbed the chance. I thought of the early morning runs I used to make in the province, of the way it made me feel about myself, about running, and I vowed that no matter what happens, I will run. I thought that maybe the place would make a difference.
I was right. The place indeed made a difference. Instead of running in the late afternoon, I woke up early and was out the door by 6 a.m. I ran daily along the national highway; the air was cool and I could hear birds singing, the slapping of the waves on the shore a few meters to my left, the faint rumble of tricycle motors far away, and the faint, rhythmic thumping of my New Balance on the pavement. Even though I knew that people were already wide awake and preparing for the long day ahead, I still got the feeling that I was all alone in the world with nothing and no one but myself and the road ahead of me.
In that weeklong vacation that I spent in my small, beloved hometown, not only did I reconnect with my family, I had also rediscovered how much I love running and how it makes me feel utterly at peace with the world.