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Several years ago, I started running to get into better shape. I was skinny fat—you know, where you’re thin but probably unhealthy and actually gross.

I started with a running program I found online, and I only ran in my backyard, because I was too embarrassed to run around the neighborhood. I could only do one lap around my yard without feeling out of breath and lame.

Within a couple of months, I was up to running 30 minutes at a time.

Me.

When people refer to me as “you’ve always been active,” I really laugh inside, because the most active thing I used to do was dance in my room by myself once or twice a month.

Of course, after I could run 30 minutes (close to three miles), I started to push it, because I have zero limits. “I can probably do 35 minutes,” I told myself that first semester at Rutgers. “38 minutes isn’t that much more than 35—I can probably do this.”

“You know what—I could probably run every day, because I’m pretty sure real runners run every day.”

Then one fateful day during my lunch break at school, I finished running about 3.5 miles.

That’s when I felt it.

My legs were on fire. Every step felt worse than the one before.

Ever since that day, I really haven’t been back to myself.

So, I do 2 – 6 miles a week (depending on my legs), and someday I’ll be up to 20 a week, but it’ll take time.

Spring is my absolute favorite running season, because of a few things.

  1. I love the smell of flowers. I smell hyacinth and roses and who knows what. I can’t describe how much I love the smell of flowers, and especially when I’m running and take a breath. ERMERGERD.
  2. I love the sun on my face, and the wind at the most random times. I love the warmth, and then I love the shade moments later. I run in a residential area, so I get the shade of tons of shade after an uphill run in the sun.
  3. I get to see people’s homes. Some people leave their front doors open. Others spend their afternoons gardening. I get to see it all, and I really like it.
  4. I get to see who lives where. I really don’t know anyone in my town, and I kind of like it that way. I like to think that there are probably really interesting characters, so when I see people, I create a story about their lives. So, there’s this one guy five blocks over, and in my story, he’s a doctor who’s looking for his soul mate, but every day, he’s pretty sure he isn’t going to find her. There’s a plot twist, though. His soul mate is a nurse on duty in a neighboring hospital. They’ll meet pretty soon, and I’ll probably get to wave at them on a future run.
  5. I get to see all of the flowers blooming. The smell is one thing, but have you seen my floral board on Pinterest? Yeah, today I found a field of dandelions and I almost stopped to pick one, but figured I’d leave it with its people.
  6. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I turn down different roads all the time. I go to different places. I pass other runners. I like to explore my own town. I can’t wait until I’m elsewhere, I will explore that place so hard.
  7. I like to listen to important, upbeat songs that mean something. I mean, I love the other fun songs, but the treadmill and the road are so different. On the treadmill, I have a 144 BPM playlist that gets me through the mundane-ness of it all. On the road, I can listen to meaningful songs that make me want to go further. It’s just nice.
  8. My final reason is that I can do anything I really apply myself to. Being who I am, I never thought I’d be able to actually enjoy exercise, but I do. I know it sounds corny, but that “runner’s high” that people talk about is actually a thing. There comes a point (and I can only imagine it’s infinitely better when you’re logging 10-12 miles at a time) during my run where I get into a rhythm and nothing matters anymore. I’ve forgotten about the stressors at work. I’ve forgotten about the people who I didn’t matter enough to. I’ve forgotten about the jobs I didn’t get. I’ve forgotten about everything, and I’m just running to wherever I feel like going. It’s incredible when the sun hits my face at just the right time, when I smell the perfect flower, and when a gust of wind hits me and the beads of sweat dissipate.

So yeah, I may only be doing a couple of miles every other day, but they matter most.

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