Sometimes Courage Runs

By Elyse MorenoFebruary 26, 2015

When I heard I would have the chance to participate in TWLOHA’s Run For It 5k this year, I immediately wanted to sign up. I don’t know why. I’ve never considered myself a runner or even enjoyed running. I’m not so sure that I enjoy running now. But that week, I started a program called Couch to 5K, which takes you slowly from walking to running a 5k. The first day, I only had to run 60 seconds at a time, and I completely hated it. On the second day, I hated it more. And I hated it just as much on the third.

So why did I keep going at it? It’s partially because I am incredibly stubborn and hate starting something without finishing it. But I think there was an even greater reason. I recently had the privilege of participating in this year’s AFSP Out of the Darkness walk in Orlando. It was one of the most sobering and humbling days I have ever experienced. That day, I walked for friends I’ve lost and for friends I’ve seen walk through loss.

But when I run, it feels like it’s for a different reason. It feels like maybe it’s for me.

When I’m running, it’s not exactly fun. It’s hard to breathe, my heart hurts my chest, my legs scream out in pain, but I keep running. It feels good to keep pushing my body to places I didn’t know I could get to, and it feels good to take care of my body afterward. There was a time in my life when I didn’t take good care of myself, when I hated this body I have. I didn’t appreciate this body I was given; it felt like a gift I wanted to return. But when I run now, I experience all the great things this body can do. It’s not always easy or painless, but I realize how incredible my body is. I am thankful for this gift, and I am grateful for the fact that I have gotten to a place where I take better care of it.

I felt selfish the first time I realized the “it” I was running for was myself, for the celebration of my recovery. It felt wrong, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK to celebrate myself. It’s OK to celebrate the days and weeks and months and years I’ve spent clean, to celebrate the recovery I’ve seen. It’s OK to celebrate the fact that I’ve gotten to a point where I feel healthy now. It’s OK to celebrate that I don’t feel so sad anymore. It’s OK to be proud of myself for that.

So come April 18, I will be running for myself. My only goal is to run the entire thing without walking. I don’t know if I’ll get there, but I hope I do. Today, I ran for six minutes, and I still felt like giving up. But I didn’t. And that makes me think of all the times I haven’t given up: all the hardships my story has seen and all the times I have gotten up and said “not this time.”

Perhaps it’s OK to be proud of ourselves, to be proud of the paths we’ve walked. Perhaps it’s OK to say, “Look how far I’ve made it!” In the midst of constantly seeing how far we have to go, I think it’s OK to think that. I think it’s OK to be happy for ourselves, for the incredible stories we are living. I don’t think it’s selfish.

I hope that you can run for yourself. I hope you can run for your story. I hope you can celebrate the victories in your life – the trips to the grocery store, the creation of something new or beautiful, the first or the fiftieth appointment with a counselor. I hope you understand that you are worth celebrating, that your story is worth celebrating, that your victories are worth celebrating. I hope you look at your story and you consider it a victory that you are still here today, fighting for better days. I hope you feel strong. I hope you feel proud. I think that is courageous – to be proud of ourselves.

See, courage doesn’t always look like screaming and fighting battle after battle. Sometimes courage looks like asking for help. Sometimes courage looks like helping a friend in need. Sometimes courage looks like getting up again. Sometimes courage screams, but sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it walks. And sometimes, it runs.

What will you run for? Sign up as a virtual runner now to run or walk a 5k in your community on race day! Need to train for this year’s Run for It 5k? Elyse is using this program.


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Comments (4)

  1. Tami

    You are an excellent writer. I am proud to call you my daughter. You are a blessing to your Dad and I. Keep preaching – people need to hear your story. And keep running for those who can’t. Love you mucho. Mom.

    Reply  |  
  2. Nicolle

    Love this! So inspiring. Thank you, Elyse, for sharing your story!

    Reply  |  
  3. Zeke

    This is so encouraging, thank you. You’re such a good writer!

    Reply  |  
  4. love

    Hey !
    I’m french and I don’t speak english very well. I watched the movie To write love on her arms and I think it’s an amazing movie ! I love this movie ! I don’t use drugs and I never try to killed myself but I love this organisation and I think it’s vert important to help the people when they need help . and I juste want to say thank you for all ❤

    Reply  |  
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