Today, I ran two miles.
I know that probably isn’t a big deal to a lot of people. For this second-helpings-loving curvy woman, it was a major deal, because I know how beneficial running is and I have always wanted to improve myself physically, even if that shaped up to be me living a healthier, more active lifestyle yet staying at the same weight/body shape I am now. I’ve always just wanted to be active so that if someone invites me to come play a pick-up-game, I know I can. If I want to study abroad and walk everywhere, I won’t be afraid that my body won’t make it. And if I want to eat good food, I can, without guilt. I’ve always wanted to make that transition, but I never have. I always talk myself out of it. Today, I knew that I wanted to go for a run when I woke up, even though I hadn’t planned on trying to start any new workout routine. I almost talked myself out of it and I’m not even sure what switched and caused me to throw on some tennis shoes and go instead of climbing into the shower like I was inching closer to every passing minute. But I went out there and I ran and it felt awesome, even though my body is now sore and it hurt to walk up the stairs on my way to work and I still find myself struggling to breathe slightly because I’m just that fit, friends.
I wanted to run for 30 minutes. 30 minutes sounded like an achievable goal that would also be an achievement, in my eyes, if I ran the entire time. I made a playlist with seven songs that matched my time goal and anytime I felt myself wanting to quit, I would whisper, “C’mon, one more song. You can do one more song.” Granted, my pace wasn’t much faster than a snail, especially after the first song came and went, but I still did it and that’s all that matters. Regardless of how fast I ran, by the time I reached song five, my pace had dropped even slower and I’m pretty sure a snail did lap me, laughing as it passed. And even though I knew I was too stubborn to give up after I started, I was struggling. My diaphragm had started cramping up and my body was starting to feel the affects of actually being purposefully active for the first time in months and I knew the last two songs were going to drag and it was going to be miserable, the endorphins I had released when I started dissipating as my brain took over, derailing my heart.
And then I saw it.
A monarch butterfly launched off from where it hid amongst the trees and flew over my head, accompanying me for a few steps before flying back into the trees.
You may not realize how powerful of a symbol this was.
Monarch butterflies have a very special meaning to me. They represent hope. They represent the beauty in life. They represent perseverance. They represent God and the reminder that while life can get hard sometimes, I’m doing pretty darn okay. They have this association because of my Grandmother, who was given hope during a rough time when she was undergoing chemotherapy when a monarch landed on her steering wheel after an appointment. Ever since then, any time I see a monarch, I have a weird association that I saw that butterfly purposefully; that I was meant to see it in that moment, that I was meant to be reminded that no matter what, I got this. Perhaps that’s a silly association. But it doesn’t change the fact that every time I see one now, my spirits are lifted and I offer a small prayer of thank for that reminder; for that representation of faith and hope and strength showing up at the times I need it most.
Today, I also ran just a little bit faster.