The Running Thief

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” C.S. Lewis

7 years and thousands of miles ago, I couldn’t run a single mile without stopping.  I couldn’t run a mile without feeling like my lungs were going to burst out of me, without feeling like my knees weren’t meant to run, without worrying: but I don’t look like a runner.

When will running get easy? It’s a question I asked when I first started running, and it’s a question I often get asked today.  And I don’t quite know how to answer that–I don’t want to say: After all these years, after all these miles, running still isn’t easy for me.  And yet that’s the truth.  Because I don’t want to scare any new runners away.  I want anyone and everyone who is interested in running to give it a fair shot.  I can’t answer that simple question with a simple answer.  I know they are hoping to hear–After a few weeks…after a few months…after you get used to doing a few miles a day, a few times a week–that’s when it’ll get easy.  But that wouldn’t be truthful.  The truth is, it’s complicated.

My running truths are that it never really does get easy. You’ll learn to love that some days you’ll look forward to a run and other days you’ll have to drag yourself out the door–confused how you can love something so much yet some days find it so challenging.  You’ll learn that sometimes it takes you a long time to get warmed up in your run but when you do, everything falls in place and for a moment–maybe a mile, or quite a few miles–it does feel easy. You’ll learn that that easy feeling will come and go and that sometimes you’ll want to run a pace that feels comfortable and some days you’ll want to push the pace so hard you feel like your lungs are going to burst and somehow—both runs will leave you feeling smiling, breathless and thankful.  

You’ll learn that when you find something you’re passionate about–boredom won’t be a factor.  You’ll accept that thoughts will flow; that you’ll sometimes fixate on a problem, a worry, a love, a fear–that you’ll work through some of your biggest problems and before you know it, miles will be past you and you’ll wonder–How did I get here?  You’ll get lost in your head–the music, the scenery or simply the focus of getting through your run.  

I’ve been running for a little over seven years–for some that’s a lifetime, for others, I’ve just started. I hardly feel a difference, but after all these days, years and miles, when I look carefully, I see everything is different.

I’m a running thief.  Running gives me so much, and I take and take and give it nothing in return.  It has helped me transform–not on the outside, but it’s on the inside I feel most different.  I’ve learned my mind and heart are stronger than I ever thought possible. My body is capable of more than I ever imagined. I’ve transformed on the inside to feel more confident about me–no matter what I look like on the outside. My biggest transformation will always be on the inside–having the confidence to push myself farther, to chase after my goals and dreams–even if I feel scared.  Running has given me the best gift–the knowledge that our heart doesn’t want easy–it wants life.  And life is beautiful, messy, challenging, breathtaking, sometimes scary, full of laughter and lots of tears–but no, like life, running isn’t easy.  

I think transformation pictures always show a sad person before and it doesn’t have or need to be that way. Love yourself . No matter what you look like or where you are at in your journey. 

Running has taught me that no matter what I look like on the outside–the heart is where it matters.  My heart defines me–as a runner, wife, mother, writer and more.  My heart is what pushes me when I want to give up. It wasn’t a finish line that told me I’m a runner–it was one day when I was out running, with nobody cheering me on, no finish line medal waiting for me–it was one ordinary day, when my heart whispered in a quiet cheer: you are a runner.

My running truth is that not everybody is meant to love running.  What a boring world would it be if we were all passionate about the same thing?  One of my favorite things is seeing what others are passionate about.  You know because their eyes light up, they speak with confidence and a lightness of wanting to share what brings them joy–and you can’t help but smile from seeing the way the light radiates from them from the inside out.  They are beautiful.  Running has made me hope my children find their passion.  I believe passionate people bring beauty to the world.  Like a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly–it’s not the wings that make the butterfly beautiful, but its confidence and passion to fly.


Never Give Up,

This entry was also published on Huffington Post Women and Huffington Post Sports.


  1. Sara says

    This is an amazing way to explain what so many people feel. I am a teacher and lead a running group for fifth and sixth grade girls and I shared this with them today. They were also moved and inspired by your words!

    • says

      Sara, I’m so thankful you took the time to share that with me. Truly, I’m honored that you thought this was worthy of sharing with your students. Thank you! And how awesome is it that you are sharing the love of running with them by leading them in a running group–amazing!

  2. Hannah says

    Yes!! Exactly! I just returned today after a few weeks off (vacation, sick kids, sick me, death in our family, etc.). I felt like I’d never get back out there. Then, while I was running today, I realized how much I missed it and how much of a part of ME it has become. I can’t wait till tomorrow’s run! This post was perfect timing!

    • says

      So sorry to hear about the death in your family! I understand how there are sometimes lulls in running—life happens. But the wonderful thing about running, is it’ll be there waiting for you when you are ready to jump back in. I hope you have a wonderful run tomorrow. xo

  3. says

    I too have learned my mind, body and heart are stronger than I taught possible. I was so not confident when I first started running, but over the last 3 years and 2 babies later, I WILL be running my first 1/2 marathon in two weeks. I personally love what running does for me. Clears my mind, give me quiet time away from kids, boasted my confidence, and has made me 15 lbs lighter. Its my gate way drug to clear depression. These are things I LOVE about running, the act of getting out the door is the hardest part of it all. Keep up the hard work. New follower here!

  4. says

    Your story is very similar to mine. Running opened up my heart and my passions, and hoping your own children find their passion is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.


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