Monday, November 11, 2013

Why I Run

I have officially survived my first term as a med student.

Getting through anatomy has not been easy by any means, but I ended up coping with it easier than I thought I would. 

One thing that really helped me to stay sane these past few months was running.

I've always loved running, but I've often fell victim to the "I don't have time" argument in the past. But over the past few years I've learned that being outside and taking the time to do something for myself are usually the times when I am happiest (#tooniceadaytobeinside). So I knew that if I wanted to make it through school without being a total mess, I would have to make no excuses and try to get outside and run (or bike, or hike, etc.) as much as possible.

There were many many days when I had to combat the panicking feeling that I couldn't take time out from studying or the overwhelming need to just take a nap, but I knew that once I forced myself to put on my running shoes and just do it (that's not a Nike endorsement by the way) I would feel better and not regret it.

Those runs, whether they were a quick 20 minute study beak or long and steady, have been the times when I feel the most confident and happy. For a brief period of time, I can look at the sky and the trees, get lost in my steps or whatever 90's pop-punk song I'm jamming out to, and let my mind be completely free of everything in my life that I don't have control over. 

Taking a bit of time each day to do something for myself when I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone, means that I have a few minutes in which I can feel confident and in control of my own life.  I can't control what my professor is going to tag on the anatomy lab final, but I can control how far I run. I can't control the cost of my tuition, but I can control how fast I run. And in a society and time in my life where there are a million things that I have no control over...that's a pretty great feeling.

But it doesn't just have to be running, it can be the same for someone who loves to bike or swim; or artists have control over their colors and lines and writers have control over their words and stories...the list goes on and on.

Just make sure that you take some time to do something that makes you happy and that you have control over; something that you do just for yourself and no one else. Those few minutes will help get you through the times when life seems too overwhelming.

That's why I run.

So, this weekend, one week after being able to check "Get through first med school term" off of my list, I can check off "Run first half-marathon", which is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I certainly won't be the fastest, not even close, but that's okay, because I won't be running to try to prove something or because someone said I have to. I'll be running just for me, because I want to. And I'm going to feel darn good doing it too!