For the first time since having P I’m not talking about anything to do with him when I say childlike joy. Wednesday was a trying evening. All the demands and the to-do list got to me. I found myself saying, “I just can’t do this.” I was tired. It was past my bedtime. I was, you know, not at my best.
The following morning I was blessed with a two hour delay. An extra two magnificent hours to get some stuff done. I took part of that time to go for a run. Finding time for myself is near impossible, so when I’m given an opportunity to run I take it bad weather or not.
The snow was fresh. A blank canvas just waiting for my footprints. I love winter running days like this. Fresh snow on trees. Covered sidewalks means probably not slippery. Snow bank jumping. Being the first person to make their footprints in a path. A hard, but rewarding workout is almost guaranteed.
During my last half mile a favorite song that I wouldn’t normally run to came on, big fat snowflakes started falling and I felt the unfamiliar-these-days running high. When I turned on my street I felt an intense desire to make snow angels.
I immediately headed to the backyard and made a snow angel. I took in the peaceful silence that only winter brings. If you’ve spent time outside on a snowy day without wind you know what I mean. As I snow angeled away, I closed my eyes and felt the snowflakes hit my face. Big. Fat. Snowflakes. I felt like a child again. My heart was bursting with childlike joy that makes keeping a smile off your face impossible. My stresses melted away. The to do list gone from my mind.
And people wonder why runners run-especially in the winter. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
I hope you find some childlike joy this weekend.
Some people will be wondering what is next after my 50k. After following (although somewhat loosely at times) a training plan since the last week in December, I’m sort of ready to run what I want when I want. I’ve got some recovery action that will take place this next week, followed by some inbetween marathon training that will let me be flexable while also keeping me in shape for my next races-the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4th in Portland, Oregon and the Missoula Marathon on July 13th in Montana. The plan will allow plenty of time to enjoy summer, the husband and whatever else I feel like doing.
Finding balance between being a runner and a person is so important for me. I love my time alone on the roads and trails, but I also need the social fun of being with others. Too much of one or the other leaves me unbalanced and feeling cranky.
All day I’m surrounded by people-from the adults I work with to the 130 students I see in a day to the athletes I coach. Running offers me time to hear my own thoughts in my head, to process what I feel, and to rejuvenate myself for the next day.
On the flip side too much time alone on the road or the trails makes me sad and puts feelings of discontent in my heart. Being around my students, friends, family and the husband help to restore the fun in my life in a way running doesn’t always fulfill. After too much time alone I crave being around others.
I find I am happiest and most content with running when I am happiest and most content outside of running. When my life is full (but not too full) running provides me with the greatest joy. When life is challenging and difficult running provides me with an outlet, but often it is not my best or favorite time to run.
I like this image, but tend to think that life is more good than bad. The yin-yang would need to be a little uneven to represent how I view this balance.
Running encourages balance in life. Running allows me to sort through all my responsiblities and still make time for myself. Running helps me see that work is work and sometimes there is more to life than just your job. Running also helps me to see how much I love my job and gets my creative juices flowing while my feet hit the pavement. While out on runs I’m reminded of how great the people are in my life and all they do to support me. This is especially important when people in my life are frustrating me. Running simply gives me time to think about all I’m juggling in life.
Balance in all parts of life is always important. I don’t believe for a second that I have this figured out, nor do most people (I think, I hope). Running miles helps me find more balance than if I were not a runner. This is just one more benefit and reason why I love this sport.
How do you find balance between running and the rest of your life? Tips? Suggestions?
S & S
The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. So many wonderful things have happened…meeting your best friends’ new baby, having a surprise birthday party, skydiving and first marathons, and finding out friends are pregnant. At the same time more bad things have happened to people near and dear to me than in a while. They say bad things come in three’s, but we are well past that.
Sometimes life is so confusing when we try to make sense of why things happen to certain people. Why bad things happen to good people. Without being too specific three weeks ago a close family member lost their job, another had a bad breakup and is moving home, and another made a bad choice and got a DUI (luckily they didn’t hurt anyone else). Two weeks ago a former student of mine died way too soon. Today I just found out a college friend with a young family has stage three cancer. It seems each week brings something more upsetting, shocking, and sad that makes me question everything.
It is days and moments like these that I lace up my shoes and pound the pavement for answers. Today I almost skipped my run overcome with emotion and sadness, but then I reminded myself how running almost always makes things seem more sensical and manageable. Sometimes I get no answers or real explanations while out on the road, but somehow things make more sense when I turn back into the driveway. And really what answers would make sense?
Life is full of unknowns, events we can’t begin to predict, and moments taken away from people too soon. There is something about the rhythm of pounding feet on pavement, the sound of your breath, and nature in action all around that brings a sense of calm and peace. While this isn’t understanding, and it certainly doesn’t take the pain away, it does give you time with your thoughts to process, comprehend, and begin to move forward. It gives you those moments alone so you can be strong for the people who need you. When life presents the unexpected, thankfully there is running to help you push through the challenges.