Running Back To Myself

This last week, On Being (one of my favorite programs) featured a piece I recorded with “Creating Our Own Lives.” I’m incredibly honored. The episode is below.

This past week, as I prepare for my 10th marathon, Kauai, this being shared feels especially sweet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about strength and vulnerability this week. It’s a frequent theme in my writing.

And re-listening to this made me realize something important: the road can be a brutal place.

If my race reports have shown me anything, it’s that racing doesn’t always feel like sunshine and butterflies. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s bloody. It can make you cry. Hell, it will make you cry.

What running also taught me was the value of getting back up when we fall.

It’s something I’ve noticed before, but it was a reminder I needed this week.

Here’s the thing: the road is going to be there, regard of how we feel. Riddled with ankle-breaking potholes and unforeseen dangers, the road is always going to be there in its imperfect splendor. The only way to escape the journey is to wallow on the sidelines and give up, but I’ve never been the sitting-still kind.

So, even on the days that are hot and horrid, where I drip sweat everywhere; or the days I am running from monsters who eventually catch me, and find me sobbing on street corners; or days where the run feels like fire, and I am made of sunlight streaming the sky, the fact remains: the road needs to be run.

The only thing I control is whether I keep going or not.

I decide: do I stay down on the sidelines, or do I get up and begin the process of running back to my self? The self that is powerful, has a soul forged by the beating of sole-to-pavement, the one who has broken every barrier she placed down on herself. Do I become her again?

Then, I look down at the road, riddled with potholes but heading towards the horizon. I get up, smile, and begin the journey once more.

One thought on “Running Back To Myself

  1. Michael Kline says:

    Good luck, Christina on your 10th marathon. The Kaua’i marathon is so beautiful, but as you climb the hills toward Kalaheo and your legs get more tired, be one with the beauty, enter into the prayer of being one with the energy and life of Kaua’i…listen to your body…you’ll find the strength within to do your best, to get through the pain, you’ll find your self and your strength.
    I ran the Kaua’i marathon 2 years ago and bonked at mile 21…everything hurt and I couldn’t move any further, but I did my best…I was happy I tried and learned about my own body and what it can do and not do. I ran the half the following year and ran a personal best.

    Loved the segment of Running in the program On Being. Love Thomas Merton. As a Catholic priest, not practicing anymore, running is prayer to me; it is ritual, it is being one with God, one with nature; it allows me to be in touch with myself. It is meditation for me. I’m not sure what I would do without it.

    Your writing is so eloquent. I can relate to Laying Down Your Sword…always fighting, but just need to be me.

    Thanks for touching my inner spirit tonight and feeding my soul

    Michael Kline

    Like

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