As I sit here covered in sweat after my run, I’m thinking about all the things that led me to running, and how it corresponds with my number one passion in life– writing. I’ve been very depressed lately. I won’t say why, because I don’t discuss things like that in a public forum. I will say what’s helping. Running. Writing. Then repeating the process all over again.
I stopped running for maybe a month or two, and I have definitely been feeling it. Whenever I take a break from running, it reminds me how much I depend on it. In a sense, running has saved my life– or at least saved me from myself. I loved running right away because it made me feel child-like again, and that’s something even my childhood was lacking. I had to grow up fast. Running lets me let loose and regress a little bit. It feels good.
I’m going through a lot of pain right now. I’ve lost my appetite and I’m sad a lot, but I tend not to let it show. I went for a run today thinking I would just head down the street and turn around. Instead, my feet took me into the woods. I think I needed to be around the trees and water.
Running helped me deal with my father’s death. During the days prior to and following his death, I ran mostly at Carlin Park in Jupiter. When I slowed to a walk, I felt the tears coming. I wanted to scream or roll up into a ball on the path and sob. Instead, I picked up the pace and ran. I felt like he was running beside me. And I remembered a time when I was very little and my dad and my brother and I were in the field behind our house nestled in the woods. Dad said, “Come on, I’ll race you!” I ran, but my legs were short and I wasn’t fast enough. I saw the grass in front of me and Daddy’s tan work boots pounding against the dirt. I lost that race.
I think of stories when I run. Entire novels. Intricate plot lines. I have conversations with the characters and I imagine the yarns taking place all around me, playing themselves out in the woods. Recently, it’s been Meet Me in the Garden, my latest novel. I’ve never written anything so emotionally charged. There’s a lot of pain in those words. I think about it when I run.
I’m facing a lot right now. A lot of choices. I’m forging my own path, certain that I can make money doing what I love. I remember when I was a kid and someone asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“An author,” I said.
“Oh, you want to be a writer?” the man asked.
I gritted my teeth. “No,” I said. “I am a writer. I am going to be an author.”
He laughed snidely and said, “A little full of yourself, aren’t you?”
That was my mother’s ex boyfriend. You can see why he’s an ex.
Anyone who’s depressed should go outside. No, I don’t mean to tell you what to do, but at least try it. When I first started going to a chiropractor for my neck problems, I was deeply entrenched in depression and had just started running maybe a year or six months before. I didn’t expect it at all, but this chiropractor asked me about my problems and reminded me of how to pay attention to my body. “Exercise and eating right will make you feel better.” This should be an obvious fact, but when you’re depressed, the obvious becomes more elusive.
I started doing a 5k every other month. There’s not as much going on in south Florida in the summer, so I haven’t been scheduling any races recently. Florida seems to be the mecca for running, I’m not sure why. It’s one of the reasons I love it here.
I run because I love to run, because it keeps me from going crazy. I used to run in a figurative sense. Now I run in a literal sense. And I think of words while I run, stories. There’s nothing better for me than running. I don’t know how I’m going to get through what I’m going through, and I often wonder if I will. But one thing is for certain, whatever it is I’m going to do, I’ll do it on my feet, in my sneakers, running and breathing deep.
Photographs are copyright to me, Rosa Sophia, and may not be distributed.