I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week?
(Author: Ashley Ambirge)
As I read this prompt I smiled. I thought of the many times I surprised myself doing what I thought could not be done.
Many of us are fearful of growing older. I have learned to embrace this period in my life and enjoy the path on which I am presently walking. I have learned and learned to accept change does not have to be bad or frightening. I have learned if I take control of what I can control in my life, change can be a rather pleasant experience.
I have been a runner since I was 18. This summer I turn 48. My running has been plagued by injury forcing me to take more time to rest and recover than to run. 12-18 months after an injury I would get bitten by the bug. A thought would cross my mind; a thought of the freedom which running brings to me. I would purchase a new pair of running shoes and I would be off. Injury would follow shortly and the cycle would repeat itself again and again.
This time was different. This time I wanted to be a “real” runner. I define a “real” runner as someone who runs “in” their environment instead of “through” it. It is someone who does not become concerned about split times and total times but is more concerned about the run itself.
When I was younger these were my concerns. I was on a mission to shave mere seconds from a 5K or 10K time. My times were nowhere near world record times. Seconds in my world meant nothing. I realized, as I had before this longing to save a second is what had led to my incessant injuries. During this period of time my longest run was 4-miles. Now I am running 30-miles each week with my longest run every week topping 10-miles. Injuries are few and far between and only come when I lose my running focus.
Two years ago as I began to explore Buddhism I also began to practice mindfulness meditation. This practice has been life changing for me. I have transitioned my meditation practice to my runs. The difference made has been amazing.
For me the barrier was that 4-mile long run. Yesterday I accomplished a feat I would have never thought possible and surprised myself in the process. I completed a run of 11.33 miles. What made this run possible was my transition to a “real” runner. I now run with a different purpose, a different set of objectives. My objective is to have fun. Through this exploration I also receive fitness and excitement. I run with a camera and allow myself to stop whenever I want and take photos. I examine my surroundings and explore them where previously running was simply a chore I needed to complete.
Now when I am out on my long runs I run with purpose. I run to see how far I can go. I run with no guilt and stop when I want and need to. I run to be a part of my environment.
I have a new goal…running a half-marathon. My goal of running a full marathon no longer exists at least not on the scale it did years ago. I have nothing to prove to anyone. My goal is simply to enjoy the experience.