Run Chicken Run: My Therapy

running lane

Run Chicken Run: My Therapy
| published Novermber 2, 2014 |

By Sarah Herrin
Thursday Review contributor/running blogger

"No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable." – Sir Roger Bannister

As an artist, I am used to working alone and that is what I love most about running. It is something that I do on my own, only for myself, and the self-sufficient nature of it supports my introverted nature. I enjoy the balance of sweet solitude tempered with treasured social interaction.

On this morning when my partner left super early to meet his triathlete team, I was looking forward to my solo run. It was still early when I got outside and a perfect temperature in the low sixties. As I started down the empty streets, I could feel the damp morning mist on my skin. Not many people or cars were around as I ran downtown towards the park and an unusual feeling of loneliness crept over me. I continued on away from the main street and deeper into the sleepy neighborhoods. Autumn was suddenly here and there were already fiery leaves sprinkled about the green grass in the small park where people were usually out in little groups, chatting with one another, playing with kids, and taking a morning jog. Maybe the chilly weather had coaxed everyone to stay indoors with lattes and books that morning.

I felt alone, not only because there was no one around, but because of other events happening in my life. At this moment, I felt like the only one I should depend on was myself and that was the way it was and that I had to accept it as reality, but as I ran, I thought and analyzed my situation. Running—even with headphones—gives me the space to sort things out in my head and heart, and as I ran deeper into the neighborhoods, along my normal path, I passed a runner. I said hello and took the street up towards Volunteer park and there was another. Closer to the park, yet another. I thought to myself, how silly, you’re never alone. Once I got inside the park, there were quite a few other runners mixed in amongst the others: dog-walkers, a family pushing a stroller, cyclists. I didn’t speak to any of the other runners, but just knowing that we shared this passion for health, for improving our bodies, and maybe even just the solitude of the act was encouraging. This particular run ended up being one of the most therapeutic yet.

There is strength in standing alone, but it’s also a bit lonely. It helps to remember that sometimes it’s okay to depend on others and allow them to help you because one day you may end up helping them or someone like yourself. In the end, becoming a runner has helped me see that we are never really alone.

I’ve come a long way since I decided to become a runner on New Year’s ten months ago. I’ve experienced some setbacks with injuries and illness, but I continue to surprise myself by getting back on track every time. Never having been active in sports before, I didn’t know what to expect or even what I was missing. I didn’t know that running would become one of my passions, or that it would become a way to explore my inner thoughts. Running is so much more psychological than I gave it credit for. The ability to push yourself forward, to suffer just a little bit, is a valuable trait that begins to bleed over into other parts of your live. When I run, I begin to feel that anything is possible. My self-esteem has improved as I achieve the goals I set for myself and my fitness level continues to climb. It has inspired my writing, encouraged my ambition, and opened up a whole new world of opportunities. Running has become an exciting way to explore nature, to interact with others, and to challenge myself. Thank you for following me on my journey from sedentary art nerd to newbie runner. I invite you to follow my progress in the 10k series as well as training updates on my blog Here’s to always looking forward to the next race.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Run Chicken Run: My First 10K; Sarah Herrin; Thursday Review; October 29, 2014.

Run Chicken Run; My Running Buddies; Sarah Herrin; Thursday Review; October 25, 2014.

You can read Sarah Herrin's blog, by following the link.