Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Run Happy. Be Strong.

Today we got our morning work done, had a nice little lunch, and got the kids settled down for reading hour/nap. Jim was working from home, so I quickly changed and dashed out the door to drive to one of my favorite new running trails.

I have a few races on my calendar for 2015. I get kind of nervous when I pencil things in on my racing calendar these days. The last time I got the pen out and made big fitness plans was 2012, the year I tore my ACL skiing, reconstructed it with surgery, worked my tail off in PT, and then got pregnant. So, yeah, I didn't really get to run many of my races that year. And then last year I had a baby who thought sleep was for the weak and we moved to lots of new places with our four kids and life was wild and crazy and running was not the priority. So, yeah, I didn't really run many races last year either.

Running remained a hobby, a sanity saver, time with friends, but it took a very necessary back seat to life.
This year I have a 10-miler planned for June, a half marathon a few weeks later, and my first full marathon in October. My goal for the first half of the year is to build a solid foundation through consistent running, strength training, and yoga. My goal for the second half of the year is to nail my marathon training runs and run a happy, healthy marathon.

Which brings me to today's run. My goal is to get three good runs in each week as I work my long run mileage up. Today I had time to get six miles in, so I headed to a local trail. Just me and my thoughts. I have never been one to listen to music while I run. I did it periodically back in Minnesota, but I usually ran with friends or used that time alone to think and be. There is so little time to be. Here I never run with music because I am either on a tight mountain road or I am sharing space with elk and deer,which I see often, and bears and mountain lions, which thankfully have stayed away while I've been in their vicinity. Obviously I need to be alert and aware while running so no ear buds for me. The added bonus is that I can hear the twigs snap and the wind swish, the rocks skitter away and my breath get heavier and slower, depending on the particular hill I'm working at the moment. There is a depth to the silence that surrounds me as I run that I wouldn't trade for the best beat-thumping song that JT could craft. Time to just be. It's one of my favorites.

Today as I ran I thought about blogging and I remembered that I needed to call my Grandma. I thought about my marriage and my kids. I thought about how running here is finally feeling almost normal. How on the rare occasions that I'm running on flat ground, the altitude no longer bothers me. How I no longer think I'll die from the hills. I thought about all that running has taught me, mostly that I'm tougher than I thought and that friends you run with turn into friends you trust with all of the best and worst of you. My lungs burned. My legs burned. I looked around at the beauty surrounding me and I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
I had this trail all to myself today

And this view.

Mostly I thought, I get to do this. I am healthy and strong enough to rely on my lungs and legs to carry me up and down mountains and through trees and around curves. I get to feel my lungs beg for more air and my legs power up a steep incline and then fly down the other side. I get to crest a hill and see beauty as far as my eyes can see. I get to rest in the accomplished silence, punctuated only by my slowing breathing, that follows a tough run.

Last night, Elliot and I finished The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. The last paragraph describes almost perfectly how I felt on my run today.

"As Louis relaxed and prepared for sleep, all his thoughts were of how lucky he was to 
inhabit such a beautiful earth, . . . and how pleasant it was to look forward to
another night of sleep and another day tomorrow, and the fresh morning,
and the light that returns with the day." 

The running goals I have for myself this year are my biggest yet. I plan on seeing them through. But I also know that injuries and babies and life happen. So I'm enjoying every run. I'm working hard and appreciating the beauty around me and the beauty within me. And it is just absolutely fantastic.

What do you do that makes you feel happy and strong? That makes you feel better at all the other parts of your life? 


  1. AMEN! I'll be on the treadmill friday morning and hopefully can feel that beauty even though my surroundings won't be near as gorgeous.

    1. How is your disney training going? Have a great run!