I always laugh a little when people ask how I got into running around so much.

The reason I laugh is because I used to hate running; I thought it was only something you did when you were chasing something (like a bus or a Frisbee) or if you were being chased (mostly from anyone trying to tickle me or defending me in sport).

The reality is that it took being broken to make me actually WANT to run. A complete rupture of my Achilles tendon six years ago made me want what I couldn't do. To walk. To run. As I healed I found a joy in the freedom of movement that I had never felt before.

This experience of finding freedom in running was an essential grounding point years later as I suffered through being mentally broken- ridden with anxiety and drowning in depression.

The rhythmic motion of my internal breath, heart, and external limbs combined with the discomfort and (eventual) high of relief was really the only thing that made me feel human. I began to run longer distances over more challenging terrain- up to 100km in the mountains- as I struggled and found peace in the meditation, making friends with my suffering.

While physically and mentally I am in a much better place today, I continue to believe I am in this place because I know how to ground myself in movement. Running has taught me, and continues to teach me, this lesson. If I can make friends with my discomfort, the world becomes a less scary place and things that once seemed impossible become possible again


Follow Cass and her Run Adventures on Instagram @cassieshirley