Source: Pexels

Sports have been crucial to my childhood, and the lifestyle and environment contributed significantly. I lived in an area where I made many great memories and developed many social skills since I had many friends from the neighborhood. We used to play creatively and also do a lot of sports. We did biking, skating, roller skating, and played football sometimes. It was indeed the best time for me to do so many things. Running was one of the sports I developed an interest in at a later age as an undergraduate student.
In the beginning, I started running as a way to stay fit, but as I continued, I found that I enjoyed the process of running. Soon, I began training for longer distances, such as 5Ks, 10Ks, and quarter marathons. Between 2014 and 2016, I had a consistent running schedule and ran regularly. However, in 2017 and most of 2018, I stopped running to focus on my master’s studies abroad. Once I settled in France, I started running again, but I decided to do it outdoors this time. While I was still in Libya, I used to run mainly on the treadmill, and there was a dedicated space in Tripoli where I got to go and run during the days dedicated for women. So, I continued to run during the end of 2018 and early 2019.

In 2019,

I discovered La Parisienne, a running race for women that has been running yearly since 1997. I was super excited to participate. During that period, I subscribed but did not go. However, COVID-19 happened and physically speaking, I started binge eating. I began to cope with living in isolation through food. In 2021, I heard that the annual La Parisienne race was resuming after being suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With more and more people getting vaccinated, it seemed safe for the race to resume. The 7 km race was scheduled for September, so I decided to start training again. I spent the summer running to build my strength and fit for the race.

I have participated so far in three races, the 7 km, then the 10 Km, then again the 7 Km last year since there are only 7 Km and 10 Km. Last year, I could have prepared better, but I enjoyed the ambiance and how it made me feel. This year, I have also been running consistently since last year, and after my third race, I am preparing for another one very soon.

Clarity & Focus

Running has not only been a sport for me but has helped me so much, both physically and mentally. It became part of my routine, and I found so much peace and clarity. Moreover, it has been an incredibly transformative experience for me. It has not only helped me regain balance and calm my overworked nervous system but has also become a source of inspiration for my creative interests.

When I go out for a run, my mind is free to wander, and I am able to explore my thoughts and feelings. Running has become my go-to therapy session. It not only helps me keep fit but also enables me to prioritize my mental health. However, it is essential to note that running is a test of your stamina and mental strength.

As someone who runs long distances, I have come to realize that it’s all in my mind. Running is about training your mind to run for a longer period of time. This has helped me develop the mental strength to focus on specific tasks and manage them in the best way possible, much like controlling my landing and speed while running. When I am running, I have to be attentive to my movements, and this translates into my ability to be more focused and attentive in other areas of my life. Running has been a fantastic teacher, and I have learned so much about myself through this sport.

Beyond Speed & Distance

One of the most important things I have learned from running is the importance of endurance, resilience, and determination. Through this sport, I have pushed myself to my limits and surpassed my own expectations, which has helped me develop a strong sense of self-confidence and inner strength. Another lesson I have learned from running is that the journey is just as important as the destination. Every small progress counts, and the process of getting there is what truly matters. This has helped me cultivate a sense of mindfulness and appreciation for the little things in life.

Moreover, running has shown me how beautifully imperfect the experience of running can be, and how to learn from inevitable mistakes. I have had my fair share of setbacks, but I have learned to approach them with a positive attitude and to use them as opportunities for growth and self-improvement. This has helped me become a more flexible and adaptable person, which has been invaluable in many aspects of my life.