Why I Run: Team For Kids
I started distance running when I was in college.
If you’ve heard this story before, humor me because it is an incredible piece of information on the wisdom of the body.
As a youth, I played soccer from the age of 3 until I was 18, but that was different.
I was always chasing something, but what, I didn’t know. I moved to Boston to attend college without realizing how totally my life was about to change. I was incredibly lucky that my education was more about how to be a good person in the world and seeing the humanity in every being, no matter how questionable their choices. My university education was about empathy, compassion, broader perspectives, the ways in which exclusion happens, how to create a community of inclusion, and how to feel big feelings without crumbling under their weight. It was the smartest choice I’ve ever made. One of the required courses I took was called Alexander Technique and it utterly changed my life. My teacher, Betsy Polatin, fused Alexander with Somatic Experiencing and breath work. It was the first introduction I had to trauma healing. As a young person, my understanding of trauma was limited. I didn’t understand that trauma happens in many different ways and that it leaves a lasting imprint on a person’s heart, mind, and body. But then, I met Betsy and my world changed. I will never forget one of the private lessons we had. My history was probably written all over my body but I couldn’t see that yet. All of my peers had told me about their experience saying that it was focused alignment work. Cool but not groundbreaking. My experience was completely different. I sat down in a chair kitty corner to hers. She led me through what my yogis would call a guided meditation. With my eyes closed she asked me to physically inhabit the shape my body wanted to in the face of the particular experience that made me feel powerless and helpless. Her firm and kind guidance then asked me to start to let my body move in the way it wanted to, the way that it needed to so that I could reclaim my agency. It was barely a whisper. I could hardly move. She gave me the time and space to grow that movement until suddenly I was running. I was running as far and as fast as I could.
That moment changed my life. I found a freedom I didn’t know was possible. Until that moment I had spent so much of my young life caged in the tremors of trauma. And now, I was starting to break free.
In later sessions, we would run around the halls of my college, her holding the sides of my head, feeding the Alexander directions into my ears, and then letting me fly and float. Each time, I found more freedom. I was gliding as effortlessly and gracefully as figure skaters move across the ice. A heaviness that had filled my heart and my body finally lifted. From then on, I wanted to see how far I could go. Untethered, where might my heartbeat, my breath, my feet lead me?
People like to celebrate their birthdays in all different sorts of ways. For me, I like to run a race, usually a half marathon. It reminds me that I am alive. It reminds me that I have this gift of a body that moves and a heart that beats and a brain that thinks. It reminds me that even if I’m struggling, my legs are on fire, I can’t catch my breath, that I am alive and what a gift that is. Because I have this life and this opportunity to make someone else’s life a little brighter, I’m dong it. This year I’m running the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon for Team for Kids. Team for Kids brings running and athletic programming to youth around the city for free. It gives them tools to find their power and joy through movement. It is run largely by adult volunteers who understand the importance of wholistic wellness, body, heart, and mind. Health is not a privilege. It is a right that each person is endowed with. I’m raising funds to help Team for Kids help youth.
You can help me by donating here.
Even one dollar helps.
Let’s build a brighter and happier future for our youth together.
My deepest gratitude.
I’ll see you at the finish line!