A Memorial Day Run
I meant to post this last week, but time got away from me. Then, my brain tried to tell me a week later was too darn late. But, I am going to override that voice and talk about my experience anyway. I think it's too important to leave it behind.
The weather on Memorial Day was perfect here in Western Massachusetts. It had rained all day Saturday and most of Sunday. The sunshine and warm air was very welcome. I couldn't wait to work in the yard and earn myself a run. Yes, running is a reward for me, because it takes time away from my family. I often try to accomplish something before I allow myself to indulge in my love of running. It actually makes the work easier and faster because I look forward to the treat.
My original plan was to take a quick run around "the block" ( a 3.5 mile route near my home). I didn't see the need to push myself or beat any personal records. I just wanted to head out on a gorgeous day, feel the ground beneath my feet and the soak in the sun on my cheeks. That lasted until my friend and running partner called.
"Hey," he said. "Want to try to super loop?"
I groaned. I'd been wanting to try his 6.5 mile route, but not today. I hadn't prepared for it mentally. I wasn't ready.
In true runner's fashion, I responded with a gleeful "Sure!"
When we first set out, we both agreed it would be a slow run.
I don't know about anyone else, but slow tends to be more difficult than fast for me. My mind wanders. I lose focus. I get bored. I feel all the discomforts in my body. So I decided to challenge myself with speed increases at intervals. I'd sprint from driveway to driveway or from a street sign to the end of the street. It kept me entertained and didn't exhaust me. Finally, about three miles in, I found my groove.
Once I find my groove, a funny thing happens to my consciousness. I am aware of where I am and what I'm doing, but my thought process changes. One thought leads to another and another and another. They aren't always related to each other, but sometimes I will allow my mind to attach to one idea and explore it. That's when I tend to learn the most about myself.
And that's what happened on Memorial Day.
I was thinking about the purpose of the Memorial Day, which led me to think about all the veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice so I could safely run the route I was on. I don't have to ask permission to run or worry about being persecuted for being a runner. I don't have to run a certain way or a perfect distance or get it done in a certain time. I can create my own running experience because I am free--I live in a free country.
No one can take that fact from me or make me doubt it.
Not even a terrorist.
I finished that run feeling better than ever.
And I broke a personal record for distance.
Maybe the next time I'm not ready for something I'll realize it's just the right time for it to happen.
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