Maryland is having a nice break from winter this weekend. 🙂 Today it was a sunny 60 degree day and tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice! Perfect weather for running! It’s funny how weekend plans used to involve deciding which bar/hot club/parties to go to, and now my weekends revolve around running; either getting long training runs in or competing in local races. It’s such a good feeling to be done with a (Insert # of miles) run, and all ready enjoying coffee (I am huge a coffee fiend!!) before 9 am. A healthy start leaves me feeling energized and healthy, and surrounds me in an (nearly) impervious “happy bubble” for the day. This is the number one reason for my running fanaticism; it helps me maintain my inner “zen” and it teaches me a lot of lessons that I can apply to other areas of my life.
Being a natural introvert, running gives me the alone time with my thoughts that is essential to my mental well-being. I enjoy the solitude and spend my runs day dreaming, looking at nature, soaking up the sun, and pondering life’s many wonders. When I am feeling stressed, or am faced with a problem, I mentally engage in more productive problem-solving during my runs. By the end of a long run I have either decided I am stressing about something insignificant, or I have come up with a solution (or at least the starting point for a solution) to a real problem. My runs almost always bring me back to center, and I learn something about myself, or about life, on each and every run.
This sunny weekend allowed me to get in a beautiful, blissfully mind wandering, 9 mile run on the BWI trail this morning. Here are the ” introspective life lessons” gleaned from this today’s run:
#1) There is nothing like a good night’s sleep!
Last night Danny and I enjoyed a nice dinner after work, and I was in bed by 9:30. (Yes, in bed by 9:30 on a Friday night, I’m so cool! Lol) This morning I woke up early, with no alarm clock, totally refreshed. I had time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and a peanut butter/banana bagel before heading towards Baltimore for my morning run. I had a great run, and I was full of energy the entire day!
#2) Company is cool, but it’s important to be able to keep yourself company.
The plan was to meet a friend to run this morning, even being the socially awkward introvert that I am, sometimes I like having someone to talk to and to push me just a little bit harder. Well my running buddy overslept (perhaps he was up a bit later than 9:30 last night! Lol) and I ended up going on my run solo. I was totally o.k. with running by myself, because I am always o.k. with being with myself. In my early 20s, that was not the case at all. I was incredibly insecure and needed to be constantly around people (or usually a person) who were validating my self worth. It makes me proud to think of how far I’ve come over the last few years, with both confidence and independence.
#3) Accept and make the best of the things you can’t control.
When I began my run this morning, it was an awkward, not quite sure how much cold gear I should be wearing, temperature. There were also several icy patches left on the trail. I made used my best judgement when layering up for my run, and slowed down in the slick spots. All though it was not 100% perfect conditions, by the way there are NEVER perfect conditions, I focused on the things within my control and the positives. End results=happy, positive run/experience. 🙂
#4) Sometimes you will fall (literally), brush yourself off and keep on moving!
Sooooo, as much as I have been gushing about this mornings run, there was on “tiny” mishap ….At mile 3 (out and back run), I was “speeding” on a downhill and looking out at an upcoming intersection, determining where and when I should cross the road. I was running parallel to an airport shuttle bus, when suddenly my right foot hit a mini snow mound (speed bump) and I was catapulted into the air (I think my entire body was horizontal in the air at the height of my fall) and hit the ground hard (slid a few more feet while laid out on the pavement). Oh, and as further evidence to the totally random, catastrophic nature of the universe (i.e. shit happens), the iPhone that I was running with for safety hit the ground and the front screen was shattered into a hundred pieces.
For a quick recap; I totally ate dirt, in front of a lot of people, wind knocked out of me, knee throbbing, and iPhone dead. I could have decided to turn back a mile and a half early or I could have just laid on the ground crying. Instead I jumped right back up (probably in part to save face in front of the people on the bus lol) and kept running. That part of the run sucked, but it would have sucked whether I quit or finished my run. At least by choosing to NOT quit I had something to be proud of. Having something to be proud of makes a bruised ego and a bruised knee hurt a whole lot less. In life there will be times that we fall, metaphorically; it hurts, it is embarrassing, but we get to make the decision on how to react to it, and what to do next. Whenever possible, get up and move on, you’ll be so happy that you did!
#5) What goes up must come down (And not just me! haha)
There were some nice rolling hills on today’s run, pretty much anywhere you run in Maryland has some kind of hills. I actually LIKE running hills, because you can approach them with a work hard, play hard mentality. When I approach a particularly tough hill, I focus on the other side of that hill. There are a couple hills that I run that make every inch of my legs scream, my eyes tear up, and my heart feel like it’s going to pound through my chest. Those hills are my favorite, not because I’m a masochist (that’s only part of it lol), it’s because once I reach the top, I get to “ride” the other side of that hill back down, and THAT part is a blast!!!
What’s interesting about life, the ebbs and flows of negative and positive energy, are a lot like those hills I run. I can’t think of a non-cliche way to put it, so I’ll be cliche, the hardest times in my life have always been immediately followed by the happiest times in my life. The greatest blessings in my life have come along when I least expected them and felt like I was emotionally near a breaking point. That experience and knowledge is what helps me stay focused and positive when it feels like life is really kicking my butt. 🙂
Are there things you learned by running that you can apply to life in general? What are your running/life lessons? I’d love to hear them!