Running means a lot of things to a lot of people. At Grinnell, the academic workload is demanding…very demanding. Rated as one of the most rigorous college educations in the country, running can provide a real sense of balance. GT (Connor Gregorich-Trevor) says it best:
Its spring, and the weather has finally gotten warm enough that you don’t have to check the forecast before you walk outside. I step into the locker room and it’s empty, everyone has either already practiced already or will be soon. I look around the locker room, at the nametags of all my friends, the mess of shoes, the cramped whiteboard full of inside jokes. I know that I could wait for twenty minutes and someone else would walk in, but I decide to go alone for once.
Its been a bad week. I feel like in a lot of ways things have slipped out of my control; things in my life are falling apart. Even running, the thing that always makes me feel better, hasn’t been helping. I’m sad and frustrated and feel like I have no way to deal with it. More than anything I just want to get away for a little while, to escape. So the first few miles are just me and the swirl of angry thoughts inside my head. I decide to run the High Speed Six route, and I hit the turn off point and go right for maybe a quarter mile.
Then I stop.
I push away all my thoughts for a minute, and for the first time that day I take a good look around myself. The sky is a brilliant blue, with only the smallest ribbons of cloud streaking across it. The gravel crunches loudly under my feet as I turn in place, but other than that the only sounds are the wind, the insects, and the occasional distant cars. The sun shines blindingly above, warming me. I feel like I’m the only person for miles, and maybe I am. Gradually, I stop thinking about the week, and start to take it all in. The fact that I am fit and alive, and I am experiencing this incredible beautiful day, and that there will never be a single day that’s exactly like this one.
I stood there on that road for almost half an hour, thinking and taking in the beauty of it all. Its probably romanticizing things, but I still feel that it was one of the most deeply spiritual experiences of my life, and that I found something inside myself that day that I had forgotten about. How grateful I am to have the friends that I do, to have the life that I have, and to have the team, who are like a family away from home. I still think about that run to this day, and it still brings me joy and motivates me every time I do.
I arrive back at the Bear after the run, covered in sweat. I’m tired and ready to shower, but happy. I don’t tell anyone about what happened on the run or why it took me so long. I go to eat dinner with the team, confident that life is good, and it’s going to get better. And it did.