Not to be crazy dramatic, but I feel like running saved my soul today. I talked to my dad and found out that my grandma is on hospice now. She’s been declining for awhile, and I’d already grieved the loss of the grandma I had known and the grandma I would never know. So I wasn’t all that upset to hear the news because it is just another step towards what will be her eventual death. But even though I wasn’t sobbing, I instinctively knew that I needed to take care of myself tonight. Not in the social worker, “What are you doing for self-care?” way, but in a different, MY BODY IS SCREAMING OUT TO RELEASE SOMETHING, kinda way. I couldn’t wait to get home to run. And I knew that the elliptical at the gym wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a balls out, cold wind on my face, interacting with the world type of run.

I told myself that I was going to get real with myself on this run in the hopes that forcing myself to think about my grandma’s death would be better to do while running than not. Halfway through, I started repeating to myself, “Grandma is dying, grandma is going to die”. Nothing. Which, of course, made me think that this was working like gangbusters! Could I have discovered the cure for sadness?? Then, all of a sudden, I started repeating, “I love you, Grandma”. And I started to get choked up. “This is it!”, I thought. This was going to be mad therapeutic. But the tears wouldn’t come. I think it’s probably because my lungs were preoccupied with about a million other things. So no tears. BUT, there was this incredible moment when I honestly felt like my grandma was simultaneously feeling what I was saying. That she was feeling in her body the love that I was feeling in mine while I ran.

So I decided to run for her. Not a run powered by the intense sadness of losing her, but powered by the even more intense love and gratitude I have for having known her. Running with the strength that I know is partly there because she put it there. Feeling my body do the things that hers cannot and being so happy that it is able to do these things. Knowing how strong and fragile it is. I am. By the end of the run, I was laughing like a maniac. I felt like I could have run forever. When I got to the end, a really good song came on and I started running again. I just had to. It was so what my body and soul were needing.

Do I think every run will be this magical? No. I’m not delusional. And I wouldn’t want every run to be like this either. I think some runs need to be hard. They need to be battles we fight with our body. Just to remind ourselves that one day we’ll lose those battles. But right now, in this moment, we can win.