Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Thomas Ray Garcia ’16

Pharr, Texas • English View Profile

Running Toward Calm

Leading a "Runner Lifestyle"

I lead a Runner Lifestyle because there are times when I need to clear my mind.

Amidst my busy Princeton schedule, it’s easy for me to get stuck in a rut. Although going to class, studying and finishing my assignments are integral parts of the college experience, I feel like I shouldn’t be restricted to this cycle. Sure, coupling in some extracurricular activities and my Mentor and Writer Lifestyles add more dimension to my work. But it is still essentially work—something that requires mental energy.

This mental rut is something I’ve striven to break so that I can get more out of everyday life. Running has helped me do that.

Running in the Princeton Half Marathon.
Running in the Princeton Half Marathon.

I became a long distance runner four years ago so I could focus my energy on something that wouldn’t tax my mind. People say running is a mental sport, and I agree to an extent. But it requires a different type of mental energy than learning or writing. Each run is a lesson in calming my mind. It’s the epitome of learning from an experience.

Running is a form of meditation for me. I consider it a unique type of catharsis. Compared with mentoring and writing, which draws my attention to other places, running grounds me in the present moment. While some people use running as a time to think, I use running to clear my thoughts. After using my mind to think all day, it’s refreshing to simply think about nothing.

At Princeton, running makes my days come alive. Every day is like a new adventure. Even familiar routes along the Delaware and Raritan Canal become exciting because I venture through them with the knowledge that every day is a new day, and I should appreciate the day for its singularity. Running gives me the opportunity to escape from the confines of my mind and live life.