I’ve crossed a line with my running routine. I’ve discovered exciting, scary new territory with my distance, endurance, and state of mind. And it’s exhilarating.

I never dreamed I could run 8.25 miles on a Thursday afternoon in the cold and not be dead shortly after.

Not only was I still breathing – I felt absolutely incredible. My body seemed grateful, not resentful. My feet easily moved from running shoes to stilettos without screaming at me. My appetite did not spiral out of control in a crazy attempt to make up for all the lost calories. My mind was quiet and clear.

And now I want to do it again.

For the cost of a good pair of running shoes, I’m getting one of the world’s most effective therapies. I apologize to all the runners I deemed mentally unstable for running in all sorts of insane conditions – I totally get it now. Or else I’m crazy, too.

I’ve outgrown my neighborhood; there aren’t enough miles in it to satisfy me anymore. My new trips include traversing the surrounding farmlands and country roads, breathing in the spring scents of manure and fresh mulch as the farmers prepare to sow this year’s seeds and encourage a new year’s growth from their perennials.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m running toward, but I have a pretty good idea about what I’m running from. Every mile leaves a cloud of negative ideas and self-deprecating talk behind me. I’m running away from anger, fear, and self-doubt. I’m running away from the chains that bound me up in a very small little world. I’m running away from my dysfunctional upbringing – from my dysfunctional marriage – from my dysfunctional Self.

I am getting strong. I am building muscles for a new, sleek, more dynamic Self. I am beginning to see traces of her in the mirror. I feel her inside of me, stretching and growing and longing to push out all the yuck so she can have room to move and play and take me to places I’ve not yet been.

And I love her.

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