Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Erin Brown, reflects on the therapeutic nourishment of habitual running. She looks holistically into how exactly this movement brings about refreshing clarity, including fresh eyes to her relationship with the Creator. A personal introspection of the theology of the body. 

For about four years now, I have wanted to be a runner. However, for a myriad of silly reasons, I could never get myself motivated enough to be one. That is, until now. Moving to DC and being in a new environment provided the perfect opportunity to start running as a habit. Not only did I have a new start and a new place, I also gained a new friend! Emily, one of my community members who also serves at the Father McKenna Center, is my running buddy, and I don’t know if I’d be a runner without her. Right off the bat, Emily and I started running everyday. During quarantine, it was really our only way to get out of the house, explore our new neighborhood, and get to know each other in a safe way. Running with Emily around the Brookland streets has brought me more joy, growth, and gratitude than I could have imagined.

Running nourishes all parts of myself: mind, body and soul.

Without fail, my day is always better after I go for a run. The physical activity, fresh air, pretty houses, and chats about our days are peaceful and grounding. My brain always feels clearer, calmer, and happier post workout. Running is truly a medicine for my mind.

It’s no secret that our bodies are epic miracle machines, but sometimes I think we forget that fact. Running regularly has brought me to an entirely different level of appreciation for my body.

After one particularly taxing (and frustrating) day, Emily and I got home from work, quickly changed into our gear, and ran out the door. Our run that day was the longest and the fastest run we have done thus far. It felt amazing. I felt like I legitimately ran all the frustration out of my body that day. During the run, I joked that we were super-humans, but the reality is that our bodies are SUPER. And they are capable of the most incredible feats.

These moments foster immense gratitude for my physical body, and my perspective has changed to viewing my body for all the things it CAN do versus all the things it can’t. 

Movement is beautiful. Movement is divine. God created each little detail of our bodies and engineered us in a way that we are free to MOVE! It is in this way that running nourishes my soul. On the days when the runs feel a bit harder and I still manage to finish strong, I feel like I can hear God cheering, “I made YOU!” And it is incredibly motivating and inspiring. Through running, I recognize the holiness within me; I feel my connection to both the earth and to God.

We are made in the image and likeness of God, and I guess, in a small way, I feel like I make God proud when I run. Running allows me to use and nourish everything God made me: mind, body and spirit.