to my 17 year old self

(inspired by this post from one of my favorite internet ladies, Gale of She-Explores)

You have run so many laps around that track that you know the view from every meter mark like it’s the only thing you’ve ever seen. You’ve spent hundreds of afternoons running, running, running, through freezing rain & under bright sun, stretching in the parking lot and lounging on the high jump pad. Your teammates have pushed and encouraged you and your coaches have taught you perseverance and guts. Running is everything, or at least it feels that way.

It’s been hard, lately, hasn’t it? I know you resent your widening hips, the way your legs don’t turn over as fast as they used to. But you are still out there, trying. I know you cry when you don’t run the way you’d like to, and you won’t listen to anyone who gives you encouragement. That’s something you’ll struggle with for awhile, but try to receive support. You are so hard on yourself and too hard on your body. You have worked so hard, for so long; give yourself some grace.

I want you to be proud of yourself. Remember that it’s okay to rest. It’s okay to run more slowly some days. It won’t always be this hard.

One day, you will love lacing up your shoes again. You will find joy in running through new places, in using your legs to explore. In a few years, you’ll run miles and miles along a canal in a city across the world. You’ll follow deer trails up mountainsides, pushing through the trees and reaching the peak. Running will be relief again, sooner than you think. Your legs will always carry you, I promise.

Try to enjoy the last few months of running around that track and through the fields above the high school. Breathe deeply, laugh with your teammates, run for the feeling, not for the success. You will learn to love it again, trust me.

-k, age 25

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2 thoughts on “to my 17 year old self

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