I’ve read on many other runner’s, especially ultrarunner’s blogs, that running is an escape for them. It quiets their anxious mind, it silences the thoughts, problems fade away.
I used to think this was my story as well. After I started running a few years ago till now, my life has gotten so much better. I respect myself and my family, I am strong physically and emotionally and I do not tear myself down as much. I believed running was eliminating the bad feelings, the mistrust, the self-hatred.
My real story is different. Running has not stopped the voices. Running has not helped me hide from them.
Running allows me to face the voices, acknowledge them, and then allow them to pass. Running helps me “sit” with or hold space for those voices. It challenges me to be uncomfortable in my body and my mind. It holds me accountable to what I know to be true.
Running keeps the voices there until I’ve faced them enough times and convinced myself of their lies. Then it allows them to fade away, occasionally reappearing in moments of vulnerability or exhaustion, only to be fought again. Largely however, they are dealt with, proven false and invisible to me.
What I’ve realized is that the voices never go away, but my response to them has changed. I do not run away from the voices because some of them are true.
I was dishonest last week.
I didn’t run this correctly and I knew it.
I didn’t complete some job to the fullest potential, it was simply “good enough”.
These thoughts are true. The voices are right. Yet, they do not define my person. They prove that I am human, that sometimes my choices are not the best, but I am still doing my best in the grand scheme of life.
When you think about it, I could never “run away” from these voices, because they are me. Running has helped me accept these voices, realize I might have made a bad decision, but that I can move on from it.
It is never an escape, it is a path toward freedom, voices included.