Reconnecting with Running

Graphic+courtesy+of+Canva.

Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Grayson Navarro, Copy Editor & Columnist

Ever since I was young, I’ve always had a fascination with running. Feeling the wind in my hair and the ground pounding beneath my feet intoxicated me. It didn’t matter if it was raining or clear, cold or warm, I wanted to be out running. 

 I joined my eighth-grade cross country team and later my high school track team as a wide-eyed, ecstatic freshman. The track season had finally started, and our first meet was scheduled for some time in March of 2020. However, as we all know, the pandemic hit– stopping virtually all sports and throwing our lives out of order. 

I was lucky enough to buy an old treadmill, weeks before the stay-at-home orders came rolling in. It was used, dusty, and the side panels had been chipped and worn down. But for 50 bucks, it was worth it. 

For the first few days of the lockdown, I ran on the treadmill constantly. At first, I could easily run for 20-30 minutes at a time, but as the days turned into weeks, then months, I could feel my motivation to run slowly diminish. Maybe it was due to the fact that the treadmill was in a lonely, cold, cement-walled basement, or that the dust on the floor made it harder to breathe, but consequently my feet began to drag. I was only able to run for a mere 10-15 minutes at a time before I got tired and stopped. 

Not only was I confused about my pitiful display of athleticism, I was frustrated. It annoyed me that my performance was so blatantly subpar, and as time went on, my ability to run worsened. Day after day, my legs moved more and more sluggishly and the minutes I spent running dwindled like the flame on a worn-out candle. 

I was bored. 

I had lost enjoyment in one of the activities I cherished the most. I was sick of staring at a cement wall — running but not going anywhere. I felt as if I was a prisoner in my own home, unable to escape the four walls that surrounded me. 

I tried several different techniques to try to keep myself motivated and entertained. My father even set up a life-size Batman cutout in front of the treadmill so that it would “keep me company.” Nothing worked and I continued to lose interest in running altogether. 

Eventually, I just stopped. 

I didn’t even try to get myself to move on the treadmill, nor did I have any incentive to do so. I became a true couch potato, wasting my day away on my phone and only doing short five-minute workouts to keep my legs from going numb. 

It was pathetic. 

This cycle of procrastination and lack of motivation continued as the new school year commenced. I knew I needed to change; I wanted to start running again, but I couldn’t seem to find the drive to do so. I looked for one sign, one push to get me started, but nothing. Then, finally I heard the news of the winter track season starting up again. I thought this could be what I was looking for; this could be my big break. But, with how unpredictable the coronavirus could get in the colder months, my growing concern of it prevented me from joining. 

I had sunken into a rabbit hole that deepened with my own self-pity. I was trapped in my own mind waiting and wishing for my problems to be solved. I had a nagging feeling that something was missing, something important.

Before long, late February rolled around and the weather got warmer. It was the last week of February and the temperatures were in the 50s; it was perfect running weather. 

“Is this my chance to start?” I thought to myself. 

After much consideration, and slight persuasion from my mother, I decided it was time. I strapped on my running shoes, which felt a bit tighter than I remembered, and took a step outside. 

I walked out onto the street and began moving my feet, right foot first, then my left. My slow trot soon became a swift jog, then a full sprint. My legs rapidly rotated as my feet floated on the pavement. The cool breeze brushed my face as the calming afternoon sun held me in its warm embrace. Everything zoomed past my eyes, shortly becoming nothing more than a collage of color and light. 

My heart raced as I ran, and, suddenly, even the leafless trees and yellowing grass were mesmerizing.

The sound of children playing, the birds chirping, and the wind blowing motivated me. The sight of passing cars, neighbors going about their day, and even the setting sun made me feel alive. Being freed from the confines of those four cement walls made me realize exactly what I was missing. It wasn’t just the act of moving my legs that I enjoyed: it was the experience of being outside and taking in the beauty of the world around me that truely fueled the love I was missing. 

As each new day in this pandemic arrives, we face more and more hardships. How we decide to deal with and adapt to these challenges, whether we give up on everything completely or persevere through, ultimately decides the rest of our lives. Don’t let some pandemic rob you of the things you love and stop you from living your best life — following social distancing, of course.