Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Why do I run?

If you have ever met me in person, you know that I'm not a slight person. I'm vertically-challenged, to be sure, but I'm not the possessor of that classic runner lithe physique.

It used to bother me. It doesn't any more. Why? Maybe it's age or wisening. Maybe I stopped caring after I realized some things.

A few years ago, I went to a funeral of a gal that I used to work with. She was just the nicest person you could meet; caring, perceptive, and good at heart. I still remember the day I met her. She reminded me of what I bet it would be like to work with my own mother. She was just someone who gave a damn about what she was doing, did it well, and wanted to make a difference.

She got ovarian cancer and was gone very quickly. At the funeral, there were big picture boards.  There she was through the years and up to the end fully engaged and present in her life and living it to the fullest.  She didn't have a swimsuit kind of body, but there she was having a grand ol' time in photo after photo at the lake, and everywhere, smack in the middle of the fun and smiling the biggest smiles.

I think about those pictures sometimes when I run.

I'm not a fast runner. But I've heard the phrase that I'm faster than anyone riding their couch. I'm certainly faster when I'm running than when I'm sitting on a couch.

I don't run to be skinny. There's just not enough running in the world for that. I'm a lot of awesome things, so I can give up on the unattainable items. 

Running sets me free.  It sets me free from anger and sadness.  It shakes off the shackles of the office.  Running calms me and provides something to focus my mind on in the present. I remember to breath, and my mind gets connected back to my body.

I run with Greta to enjoy her joy and playfulness.  I run with my kids to give them undivided attention; they just talk continuously the whole run like it's some kind of truth serum.

Sometimes when I run, thoughts about my family, friends, or my day just come and go.  I remind myself how strong I am and how lucky I am to have this gift.  It is a gift to love the run.

It can be a spiritual experience.  I enjoy noticing the world around me and the beauty in everyday things.  I pray while I run sometimes. Life can be like running; there are days when putting one foot in front of the other is about I can handle to do.  Thoughts like "just keep going" and "this too shall pass," correlate to hard times and rewarding long run days.

I run for compassion.  Compassion to accept myself as I am and those around me as they are.  We are how we are. I'm glad of it.

Embrace yourself in the new year. Celebrate your own special awesomeness.