Next Sunday, I’ll be running my first marathon. My relationship with running has been tough to say the least. Having run throughout high school and university, I’ve battled through the abuse, injuries and pain. We’ve broken up countless times, but somehow I always come crawling back.

Now, as I sit here icing my knees, I can’t help but think WHY.

My love affair with running is inexplicable. The feelings that come with pounding the pavement in such regularity and rhythm are hard to give up. Running offers me something that nothing else can: unequivocal freedom. Freedom from my thoughts, my relationships, my world.

Lacing up my runners and heading out the door with my headphones blasting is not always a joyous moment. Sometimes it’s tough. It’s debilitating. And it hurts. But that freedom, that meditative state is well worth the calluses and sore knees.

Running a marathon next week will be an emotional battle. Not only will it be the longest and farthest distance that I’ve ever run, but it will be the most difficult.

For more:

What’s the deal with barefoot running?

How to be a better runner

Run twice a week and live 6 years longer