I’ve never really considered myself a runner, yet I’ve been running for many years. I’ve certainly gone through stints where I've put it away for a while, but I always seem to come back. Never have I enjoyed it more, than in the past few years. Just a middle-aged woman, happily mulling-through plans for my next 40+ years, as each mile ticks by. I think it might be time for me to put aside any old assumptions of what a runner might "look like," and just lean into the fact that I do enjoy the sport. So with this understanding now in place, I publicly admit, I am a runner.
Cliché as it may sound, I’m not in as much of a hurry as I once was. I just don’t care as much about the destination? I’ve come to enjoy the journey, and I’ve learned there’s much more to see and experience before we arrive at the intended finish line. Besides, isn’t the finish line just that? The finish? Is that what we’re all in such a hurry to experience?
The thing I adore most about running is the road is always ready. It’s not like other sports where you need equipment, a certain season, or a team to make it work. You don’t have to look a certain way or have a specific physique. The road is always waiting for us, no matter what state we may find ourselves. Always ready and welcoming to all. The road remembers our last run, and it's aware of when we’re away. As in life, we can never really hide from our roads, we can only choose to engage or drift further away. If I’m honest, I'm sure I also enjoy the poetry in that simple comparison as well.
Running allows me to unburden myself, leaving all cares to the road. There's no appointment needed, no jarring starting gun. I can show up late, tired, with a poor attitude, I’ll still have a coach, a therapist, a mentor, that'll take me through each step of the run. Upon completion, whatever seemed to be of concern is lighter, or has vanished altogether.
There are certain inspirational figures that keep me on the road. @RichRoll, @ChrisKresser, @BrendanBrazier, @ChristopherMcDougall, @TimFerris, and new to my list, @EmilyHarrington, badass, female, free-climber conquering El Capitan in one day. It’s great to have access to people like this who inspire us through books, videos, podcasts, etc. These are the people who help us reconnect with who we are, what we're capable of, and who we can be if we just keep “running.” They become extensions of ourselves, our support system, motivating us through each mile and pushing us further than we ever thought we could go.
It’s true our world looks very different today than it did just one year ago. However, the same could be said no matter what the last twelve months brought! The trick is not to focus on the challenges or what we've lost, but on what we can do for ourselves to become stronger, healthier, smarter, and more balanced for tomorrow.
For those who find this message, my hope is to encourage you to put yourself first for just a few minutes each day. Make yourself a priority. Do something that brings you joy and a sense of pride within yourself. Self-care repairs the spirit, so we can more fully be of service to those who need it most. An active body is an active mind. And an active mind [more often than not] is more creative, more productive, more loving, and more successful. Allow yourself to step into your strongest, best you, despite the challenges of today. You don't need to be a runner, but the fact remains, we're all on our own roads. What route will you take? Will it be an uphill climb, or a slow jog to the bottom? It's truly your choice. You are in control. This is your time. Your run. Make it beautiful.