Today’s post is a gem I wrote last year for the chance at a travel writing scholarship. While I didn’t get the scholarship, I love this piece because of the amazing memories it holds for me from my trip to Australia. It’s a taste of my running discovery down under. I hope you enjoy the piece and find a bit of discovery yourself.
The Time I Discovered…
It’s morning in Melbourne and I have only just arrived. I lace up my sneakers and run out the door. At the lobby I make a guess and turn right towards the heart of the city. Clouds cast shadows on the ground and I only have my phone’s GPS to guide the way.
I’m here to see new things. I don’t need a map or an agenda. Though I don’t know it yet, this morning I am on a mission to discover freedom in the run.
Running used to be my passion, but it’s fallen away for the moment. Formerly, I traveled so I could run to new places and see new things on foot. Now it’s a chore, a burden. Something about today is different. The air seems thick with possibility, or perhaps I’m confusing that with humidity. Nonetheless, this new place, these new, unknown faces all seem to be willing my legs to move, to churn faster than they have in months.
The miles pass, one, two, four, I don’t want to stop, don’t look at my phone; it’s just the road and me. My arms swing wildly, back and forth, mimicking the wildest thoughts in my mind: “You’re too slow.” “You’ll never be a good runner.” “Why do you do this to yourself?” “What’s in it for you?”
I’m startled from my thoughts as I pass a woman, walking briskly by, sipping her morning coffee. She looks back and yells in my direction “you’re my inspiration! Someday I hope to run as fast as you.” I smile, nod and continue a full on sprint. I run faster than before, faster than I ever would back home in California. Fueled by the passionate compliment of a total stranger. Fueled by the beauty surrounding me.
My legs feel rejuvenated. My breath becomes steady. Suddenly, I realize I’ve been holding back. I’ve been living a life of second best. Why have I been avoiding the run? Why have I been only half-heartedly putting my energy into my explorations? How much further could I go if I truly believed?
This woman is the key to my own self-discovery. The reason I now run not to win, not to be the fastest, but for the adventure. I run for the chance encounter with a stranger that will forever change my perspective.
I look back for the woman, long gone but never forgotten. She lives eternally in the spirit of my running. Rediscovered at my darkest moments and always found fueling my greatest adventures.
In my moment of self-discovery, I’ve lost my way. But in truth, I’ve actually found it. Setting my GPS coordinates for my hotel, I retrace my steps and journey home.