I tend to write in my running journal when I’m down about an injury, or worried about (not) achieving a goal. Last night I had a fantastic run and midway I decided I needed to share why I love to, and need to, run!
Tagging on that extra kilometre, or shaving off that extra minute, and doing it without anything but your own two legs. That awesome feeling when 5k feels like 3k, and 3k finally feels like just a stroll around the block. That moment when your pace, focus, posture, and breathing come together for a while after miles of trial and error. Those times you return feeling better than when you started, like you could do a second loop right away.
My favourite part of a long run is the time between when you forget what you were doing before you left home and you haven’t thought about the Epsom salt bath you’re going to treat yourself with after the run. The long stretch of empty country pavement, when it’s just me, my breath, my focus, and maybe some llamas watching me (slowly) pass them. This is my favourite way to be present.
I think I’ve seen more beautiful skies in Ottawa because of my late-evening runs. The beams of sunlight streaming past the pink silver-lined clouds over the swaying fields of corn and soybean. The rising moon sparkling through the lone, massive tree in the empty lot against an indigo sky. And I get to see it from so many different angles as my route takes me around the neighbourhood. You can’t tell me this isn’t paradise!
Learning my limits, and going beyond.
A goal is supposed to be big and scary so you can reach and exceed your limits. I didn’t expect to reach so many other, “smaller” limits on the way to the actual goal. I learn so much about my body and, more poignantly, my mind, with every limit I encounter, which is making the journey to the starting line an incredibly rich experience. It’s true what they say – the marathon (or half in my case!) is the victory lap for all the training and work you put in over the months before.
Too bad I can’t write while I’m running, there are so many great ideas that come to you while you’re alone on the open road!
Since I’ve started meditating, I’m also making it a habit to spend a few minutes at the end of my meditation thinking about what I’m grateful for, or counting my blessings, as they say. At first it was just during my solace that I would count my blessings and really feel appreciative. In being conciously grateful, my heart was filled with peace, bliss, and in some cases relief! And since I meditate before I go to bed, I always seem to get a good night sleep after, which was initially why I kept it up. 😉
I am starting to understand what it means to “cultivate” gratitude. When you cultivate the land you plant seeds, you nuture them with water and sunlight, and you check on them each day to see how they’ve grown. What I didn’t expect from nuturing my gratitude was how deep the roots go. The roots of being thankful have woven themselves throughout my day, and sprout in places I don’t expect. Being thankful for missing the downpour by mere seconds, or for the opportunity to fill the coffeepot before the city shuts the water off in our block. Luck…?
Luck is a touchy subject, but if you believe in it, why not try feeling truly grateful for the good luck in your life? Try spending 5 minutes counting your blessings, and feeling something for them too. Even if they’re broad like “I have a bed to sleep in”. Use positive language, like “I have a loved one” instead of “I’m not alone”.
I have found that in counting my blessings in a safe, calm place, I have started to find the results – peace, bliss, and relief – in “real life” later. I am consciously grateful for that. 🙂