The January Running Reflection

running

My phone died, cutting off my music and I was left with the ringing in my ears, the pulsing of my legs, and the whirring of the man on the bike across the room. I tugged at my headphones and they fell to the floor. I set down my phone and leaned back. My head rested against the gym carpet, which probably was covered with everyone’s sweat, but I didn’t even think about it. I was tired. I reached out and grabbed my toes, stretching my body forward and exhaling deeply. I had just finished a three-mile run, something that had become the usual after weeks of repetition. It was mid-January, still early enough to make a resolution for four-milers, but my mind drifted away from me. This past summer I had taken up running outside. It started out of necessity, due to being stuck at school for summer classes and having a gym with unreasonable hours. The outside runs had began with feet slapping the pavement and staggering breath, but after the first few days, I had found more of a rhythm. It was weird to think that was only months ago. I leaned back against the dirty carpet again and pulled one knee to my chest. Just this past summer, I was barley making one mile runs. At the mile mark, I’d often slow down, catch my breath, walk for a little. It had been so hard then. I crossed the other leg and smiled to myself. Just months ago, I could barely make a mile and now I was pushing three. My body had learned to pace, to feel the pavement or the treadmill underneath my feet and push. I had understood my limits; I had learned how to beat them. I could now feel my breath and slow it down. I could now hear my feet and heart and lungs. I was now a runner. I took a deep breath, making sure my legs were nice and stretched. I picked up the phone off the floor and turned to the mirror. I was still the same girl, but seemed stronger now, confident. I turned and surveyed the gym. It was silent except for the distant ringing of my ears, the gentle pulsing in my legs and the whirring of the man on the bike across the room. I turned back to the mirror and smiled at my reflection. Then I walked out of the gym and into the crisp winter air.

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