Running: A Physical, Emotional & Spiritual Journey
Some people in their 40’s pop several pills a day to combat their many ailments and some people drink to soothe the pain, but I run instead. Running has a way of dulling the pain, soothing the mind and lifting the soul. It is an integral part of my daily existence. If a day comes and goes without a run, it feels off to me and I feel out of sorts until I reset myself the next day with a run. However, I am being better about having a forced day off at least one day a week now. I realize that when I am at the peak of a training cycle, I desperately NEED the day off. If I am actually looking forward to a rest day, well then, I know I have been working hard and my body is longing for a rest day (secretly I say this, because I would never say it out loud). Regardless though, I physically need that outlet on most days to simply survive. It is my daily medicine – if you want to call it that. I need to move and embrace the sweat, pain, heat, cold or whatever else comes my way. I need to get my 20,000 steps a day or I feel like a complete slacker, like I didn’t do ENOUGH for me today. Running is my absolute TOP priority every day. It is high on the checklist of things to do and is usually done within an hour or two of waking up. I easily run for an hour a day (minimum). If I run less than this, it’s usually during a taper phase. The more I have run through the years, the more my daily run time has increased. I am especially finding this week that I can and want to run more so I have exceeded my weekly mileage plan by 15 miles.
Running fulfills me not only physically but emotionally too. If my body feels good, then so does my mind and vice versa. Even the daily training runs are fulfilling to me because I’m doing something for myself and if something happens to be bugging me (rarely), I always can work it out in my head during my daily run. I usually come up with great ideas while I’m running and think of funny things. Even though the daily training run occurs in the greatest frequency, it is the actual race days that are the most emotionally fulfilling. I often am overcome with emotion on marathon days. I’m so happy to be out there toeing the line yet again and “going the distance”. I feel grateful for the opportunity and the ability to do it. I think about my family, what drives me plus all the hard work I have put into it and I cherish each journey for all that it is. It is so incredible to live in the moment like that. Before, during and after a marathon, is when I experience the most fulfillment, but that’s not to say the everyday is not equally awesome. The anticipation is awesome, the actual act of running the marathon is inspiring and it brings me a deep emotional and physical satisfaction once I have achieved it.
But running is spiritual too. I think because it is so primitive and such an individual thing to do. You can’t help but feel incredible gratitude and thank God every time you can physically do it. When you are in the middle of it and it is extremely difficult, you ask for strength, you pray and you connect with your inner self and spiritual souls that have passed and channel their energy. I run each marathon with memory cards of my mother-in-law who was really a true Mom to me and Don, who was like a second Dad to me and Grampa to my kids. I think of them during the races and I talk to them in my mind and sometimes out loud. I think about how they suffered at the end of their lives and I think, well then, I can get through this measly marathon, no problem. You have to have some connection to “something” higher than yourself in order to do it. Your mind has to be in a place of peace and contentment where you feel good and in tune with the world around you. You cannot be focused on something else or your distraction will physically and mentally punish you. You need to get in the zone and put all of your energy towards the marathon and be one with it. It is seriously one of the most amazing things I have done and I absolutely love this journey to run in all 50 states. I love traveling and running different races and just letting my feet take me where I need to go. I absolutely love it. I am so grateful for this incredible journey I am on and feel like I am truly living the way I want to live. It took many years to get to this point but boy is it worth it. My currency every day is my daily run. Some people’s currency is a power trip telling other people what to do or carrying a wallet with a big wad of cash, but not me. My currency is how I feel every single day. If I am happy, strong, physically and emotionally fit, then I feel like I have won the lottery … every single day. I don’t know, if you ask me (and I am a little biased), I think my way is better. It’s healthy, it’s good and there is no points of contention embedded into the day and the useless minutia that accompanies it which doesn’t mean a single thing in the grand scheme of life. I love this life. It’s beautiful and free and it’s amazing what can happen when you set your mind and body free from the daily grind. I believe that everyone should get a chance to experience life like this – and not have to wait until they are over 60 years old to enjoy it. I enjoy my friends who understand it the same way I do, but our only hope is that everyone can find their niche and deepest joys. Life is too short not to find your way. There is no time to waste. Let’s get to it!!!