I’ve been invited
on board as a blogger for Women’s Running, and thought it appropriate to kick
off with a Valentine’s tribute to the sport. After all, running is one of the
few, true unconditional loves of my life – along with my family, my BFF’s and
my dog.

You see, running is
always there for me. No matter my mood, running beckons; my shoes loosening
their laces to welcome my feet, the road or trail whispering seductively, “C’mon,
come join me awhile.” I can run whether angry, ecstatic or confused. Running
has a way of shaking me out and setting me straight, giving me a loving nudge toward
whatever challenges I face.

At times, I cry
when I run. When my father passed away after a formidable illness, I found
solace in a long forest run, tears splashing my path with every stride. And as
for the hills and valleys of romance? I’ve run through breakups and make-ups
and I-don’t-know-what’s-ups, my heart always bettered by the jaunt.

I’ve shared laughter
and secrets while running, girl-talk tumbling out along the trail. Sometimes,
running alone, I’ve caught myself laughing; giggles escaping through each
breath, an inside joke between me and the road.

Some of my runs are
productive, creative even, a time to cull ideas and strategize. On other runs,
my mind is blank and smooth as an empty bathtub, a welcome silent space where the
simplicity of running is satisfaction enough.

No matter the
circumstance, running never lets me down. It leaves me feeling powerful, refreshed,
clear-headed and capable. It bolsters and comforts me. It broadens my smile. At
times, running leads me to settle into an easy rhythm; at times, it pushes me far
beyond my comfort zone. Running sets my heart pumping, floods my body with
energy and leaves me always eager for more. I can’t remember once, post-run,
having regretted the effort to toe the line. And that, to me, feels a whole lot
like love.