running free

I want to be as free as Aimee Mullins when she is running on her metal cheetah legs. I had a realization that the only time I ever ran in junior high or high school was when being punished. I played volleyball and basketball.

If we were late, we ran.

If we missed a serve, we ran.

If we got an attitude, we ran.

If we lost, we ran.

I think you get the picture. I am not sure how to get over the feeling of being punished every time I lace up a pair of running shoes; however, when I saw this picture of Aimee Mullins running I was reminded that running is really the ultimate symbol of being free. I don’t want to imply that you need to physically be able to run in order to experience this freedom. I am well aware of peoples’ different abilities. What I am saying is, I need to try and harness that sense of freedom when I run. For me that means changing my mental picture of running as punishment, to running as a way to be present and grounded. Whenever I run, I immediately start thinking about when the run will end. I instead need to revel in the process in order to appreciate what it means to live. Can you imagine closing your eyes through your entire life only to wake up to the last year? I feel like it’s the same with running. There is something really important about being present through the whole process. I want to start running again, but with passion and freedom in mind. This will require a mental shift, and maybe it looks like this:

If I am feeling grateful, I run.

If I am feeling whole, I run.

If I am feeling creative, I run.

If I am feeling a sense of purpose, I run.

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8 thoughts on “running free

  1. Tracy Koesel says:

    Nancy, I love that idea of being present during a run and not just waiting for it to be over. I, too, want to embrace that mentality. Thanks for the inspiring photos.

    • Nancy says:

      I am hoping that what I am learning in yoga will give me a different lens for running. The pictures are amazing. They are so well done and capture Aimee’s talent and beauty, inside and out, so wonderfully.

  2. Melissa says:

    What an inspiring post, Nancy! It applies to so many things. I anticipate the moment I can cross something off my list rather than experiencing the process.

    Also, that TED talk is incredible. I had never seen that particular interview. I LOVE her!

    • Nancy says:

      I struggle with the same thing Melissa. One thing that yoga is teaching me is to be present. We try to push away feelings of discomfort, instead we should accept them and “breathe” into those feelings. You know how hard that is for me. My default is to push discomfort away immediately.

      • Sarah says:

        Great, great thoughts, Nancy! I’ve been learning about that via yoga, too, and it applies to our emotional lives as well. When I’m feeling angry and trying to run from it, sometimes I can just pause in the anger and focus on it. Later I realize that the feeling I was trying to avoid wasn’t really that big of a deal. Denying/moving away from negative emotions doesn’t ever help, anyway. πŸ™‚

  3. Sarah says:

    Fascinating! That top photo does look particularly joyful, and sadly, it seems like running was only that fun when I was a kid. How can I recreate that blissful feeling of running now?

    • Nancy says:


      I think that is the ultimate question right? I definitely do not have the answers, but I really do think running does have a negative, guilty connotation for many people because it is used as punishment. For some reason seeing that picture of Aimee running freely made me confront my own mental imagery of running. I do not have Aimee running in full abandonment in my head. I have all of this negative energy surrounding it. If I can somehow flip the imagery in my head, to one of freedom and not guilt maybe that is a start; however, I don’t think that means I am going to be in a blissful state of ecstasy every time I run, but I think it is a good starting place for setting one’s self up for success. Maybe just maybe that will lead to me wanting to run instead of feeling like I should run out of guilt. Let me know if you come up with any ideas! πŸ™‚

      • Sarah says:

        I wonder if the act of “distracting” ourselves while we’re running ultimately makes us believe that running is such an awful experience that we need not focus on it. Maybe if I began running small distances (ha, ha- all I ever do is run small distances!) without headphones, I would start to be comfortable in my own thoughts. That’s my idea for the day. πŸ™‚

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