Running in Recovery
Birds sing, crickets chirp, and leaves rustle as the wind passes through. Branches snap in the distance and squirrels scamper up the mossy trees. I can feel the warm air fill my lungs and the sweat drip down my back.
My strong feet propel me through the wooded trail.
Running on the trails connects me with my body and with nature.
I’ve seen turtles, bunnies, armadillos, and snakes…other humans on bikes or walking their dogs.
Trail running is one way I choose to experience movement. Up until recently I had a fear that people could perceive my running as a way for me to control weight or a way to restrict.
Running is hard and takes a toll on your body. I had to seriously consider why I began running years ago.
I run to feel freedom, a sense of accomplishment, joy, and connection with my thoughts. Running allows me to mentally detox from daily stressors.
I compete with myself to run faster or farther to see the capability and strength of my body. Without the proper nutrition, fuel, and rest, my body will not perform at its optimum level. Some days I feel like I could run forever. Other days, the first half mile I feel like crap and wonder how I have ever run long distance races.
Since recovering from bulimia, I have learned the importance of balance and I have learned it is still okay to run as long as I am not using running as a weapon against myself.
Running does not necessarily have to be cut from your life when you are in recovery, but it is important to be honest with yourself about the reasons why you choose to run.
Over the years I have practiced listening to my body. At first, the practice is difficult. Am I tired? Do I need an extra breath? Do my muscles ache? Am I super thirsty? Then I’ll slow down. I’ll walk and take the time to listen to myself. If I go on longer runs, I’ll bring water and snacks to continue to fuel the remarkably strong capsule that is propelling me forward.
Nature is incredibly healing, which is why I choose to take my running to the woods whenever I have the opportunity.
Trail running forces me to slow down, look where I am going, and bathe in the sounds, smells, and organically beautiful sights around me. It lets me take a step back from the concrete jungle we live in. I can appreciate each little stick that tiny bird carried to make a nest. I can appreciate the mega sand mansion that all these baby ants created together. Or wonder how these vibrant orange mushrooms found their way lining the rim of the trail.
I choose to run to be able to appreciate nature, to connect with the strength of my body, and rinse away my worries from the day. Why do you choose to run?
About the Author: Christina Batchelder
Christina serves as Project HEAL’s Pensacola Ambassador. She is fully recovered from a long battle with an eating disorder and wants to spread hope to those who feel lost on their recovery journey. She graduated and commissioned with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research from the Coast Guard Academy. Christina is dedicated to helping military members find support, courage, and freedom from their eating disorder. You can follow her Instagram @projecthealpensacola