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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

When I tell people that I not only run in college, but actually love to run, I am often met with utter confusion. 

“Why would you do that to yourself?” 

“I never understood how people love to run.” 

“If you see me running, call the police!”

I’ve never been able to properly defend running. There are no words to describe why I love running, I just do

When looking at colleges, I only considered schools I could run at because I could not fathom the idea of not running. It’s a part of me.

At times, the training is hard and monotonous — especially because we race all three seasons and train 49 weeks of the year — but the work is fulfilling. It feels good to push yourself, to reach new limits. Runner’s high is real, and I’ve found very few things that match the joy I receive from getting a good run in the sun.

I need to run to feel like myself. I quite literally glitch when I take my mandated three weeks off a year, experiencing tortuous insomnia last fall. I stayed awake for 90 consecutive hours despite heavy dosages of melatonin and NyQuil. My body didn’t know how to function without running. 

Recently, however, it seems that my body wants to do anything but run. A nasty combination of a three-month long illness, lingering knee pain and concerning hip pain chased my love of running away.

For the first time in my running career, I am experiencing long-term burnout.

Every run is a chore. Every workout leaves me exhausted. Every step feels like I’m risking a serious injury. 

I’ve developed a new and embarrassing habit of sobbing on the track and trails, hyperventilating mid-workout. It’s ugly and grueling. Nevertheless, I continue to train.

Runners on social media are quite possibly the most toxically positive influencers. They are always smiling and always looking on the bright side. I follow a girl on Instagram who has a broken hip but swears she is grateful for the injury because it makes her appreciate running more. 

It must be all the extra serotonin from running.

These girls tactically post their lives, announcing they are burnt out, but returning a day later proclaiming they rediscovered their spark after taking a day off.

In my current experience, it’s not that easy. 

The only way out is through. Sure, you could red shirt for your mental health, but you would still have to train. So, you might as well race.

The prospect of racing makes me physically ill, which is new for me. I am normally a fairly confident runner. Usually, I can handle my fair share of pain, and I can combat a negative mindset. Whether it’s a workout or a race, I typically step onto the line and think “I’ve got this.” Now I toe the line and think “Let’s get this over with.”

That’s how I’m currently feeling about this outdoor track season — “Let’s get this over with.” It’s yet to begin, but I’m already over it. Right now, it’s the only thing standing between me and a generous week of rest, which according to the NCAA is the most effective way of treating burnout.

So, until then, I’ll continue to keep my head down and long for my love of running to return. 

Meghan Lex is a freshman at St. Bonaventure University from New Jersey. She is a new member at Her Campus SBU, but plans to write pieces surrounding mental health, entertainment, and campus life! She currently studies communications. Technically, she's a "Undeclared Communications" major at the moment because it gives her the opportunity to explore all of the different aspects of the field! As a freshman, she is extremely excited to try new things, and sign up for different clubs and experiences on campus. Evidently, she is a part of the women's cross country and track team, SBU@SPCA, Freshman Leadership Program, and the Student Athletes Wellness Club.