When I spoke to the sleep study doctor on the phone because I had gotten desperate about sleeping through the night and he asked if I was depressed or anxious, I decided not to make an appointment. I didn’t want a pill for something that I didn’t have. I wanted to know why I wasn’t sleeping and then I wanted it fixed. For good.
That doctor didn’t seem to have a good plan in mind. In fact, he actually told me he didn’t know why I was having such strange symptoms.
I started running in late April. The first week and a half, I ran two different days, 3 miles each time. It hurt. I had to force myself off the couch, down the stairs, and make myself get dressed and out the door.
I didn’t feel strong either time. I felt winded and achy. I felt frustrated because it was so darn hard.
When you have lived a sedentary lifestyle, it shouldn’t be a surprise that running will exhaust you to the point of falling into bed as soon as you get home and shower the sweat off your body. I slept hard –even on the days I didn’t run. Those nights were pure bliss.
With a couple nights of good sleep, I decided I’d do things my way. I decided to keep running.
In an effort to not set myself up for failure, I chose what I thought was a reasonable schedule. I would run four times a week. I spaced out the days just so on the calendar and told my husband what I was doing. He told me he’d support me from the house as running isn’t his game. That was fine with me. I had my puppy Omar to keep me company.
Despite the physical aches that came with this new activity, I was sleeping better…and then something else changed.
I felt strong.
Free from the constraints of the world, of time, and the opinions of others.
Free from ordinary expectations and regular life.
Free from limitations set by others and myself.
Free to be a stronger version of myself.
Free to be confident and bold in my decisions as well as my mistakes.
And with that freedom, the aches and frustrations of running dissipated. I discovered that I look forward to my time to run. With earbuds in my ears and my trusty four-legged sidekick, at times I want to dance as I head down the street singing a somewhat winded and off-key rendition of whatever song is on my playlist.
The entire experience is bliss.
On the days I don’t run, I find myself planning the next day’s route and mulling over how I can challenge myself or counting up the miles to see when I’ll need a new pair of running shoes.
I also find that on the days I don’t run, I don’t care for sitting around on the sofa watching television. I do a little more housecleaning and sewing and reading. I take internal inventory of what project I want to work on and identify steps on how I’ll get it done.
I haven’t been tired due to sleeplessness in almost a month. I have more energy, smile more, and feel stronger than ever.
The Bible says: The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. But He has come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. (Paraphrased John 10:10)
How wonderful is that? And now that I’m meeting Him on the road, life is definitely much more abundant for me.