I looked at it and held it in my hand and knew I had to have it. Those words made me smile. They instantly made me drop my shoulders and relax, loosen my grip on life. They made me step back and a blurriness in my heart became clear. You hear it all the time. Seize the day. Focus on this moment. Be present. These are not just wise words. This is the truth. The only moment that matters is this one. HERE. NOW.
Life is full with three kids, a husband, jobs and responsibilities, passions and dreams … it is busy. And it so is easy to look back and either long for the past or want to change it. It is so tempting to want to slip into dreams of the future and get caught up in planning for what’s ahead. Or worse, worrying about it. But THIS MOMENT. Right now, here, THIS is what matters. I am constantly in need of this reminder. Constantly.
On Saturday morning I headed out for my last long run at the beach. Last week was a recovery week in my training cycle, so my long run was “only” 14 miles whereas the weekend before I did 16. The two mile decrease really makes a difference for me mentally. I wanted to make this run count. After two weekends in a row with 16 mile long runs in 100+ degree weather, I was looking forward to running few miles in cooler temperatures for a change. By cooler temperatures I mean 85 degrees, which IS hot, but not so much when you compare it to 100 degrees! My body has adapted to 85 degree weather and I felt my strength returning. I knew I was capable of getting back to my target pace of somewhere around an 8:00/mile average.
I ran the first 7 miles of my run along the ocean. The concrete surface of the boardwalk is not my favorite, but I love the ocean views. I was happy to be there running one last time before heading home. I ran a steady and controlled pace, knowing that I had a long way left to go.
|my ocean view|
Miles 1-7 on the ocean: 8:46, 8:17, 8:09, 8:16, 8:08, 8:09, 8:10
I planned my route so that the end of the seventh mile brought me up to my favorite park, Seashore (now known as First Landing) State Park. The shade from the trees, the soft sand and dirt surface, the butterflies …this place is trail running heaven. I was so happy to be there in that moment. Picking up my pace came naturally to me. I started to think about the words on my key ring. BE HERE. BE NOW. As my feet hit the ground there was a soft rhythm and the words just repeated over and over again in my head, in my heart.
Be here. Be now.
Be here. Be now.
Be here. Be now.
|a place of serenity|
For me, running is a process of self discovery, a journey inwards. The sound of my footsteps and my breathing soothe me – if I just LET it. It is honestly almost like a meditation in motion – moving into stillness. I connect to the beauty that is all around me and I find a strength, a gratitude, a faith and a happiness inside of myself. Complete contentment in that moment. I move through what is bothering me, I clear the clutter in my brain. And I arrive at this place inside of me that is truly peaceful. It is more than just acceptance. It is a celebration of who I am and what I love and what matters to me.
Runs like this – when I can completely let go of the muck of the past and the anxiety of the future – runs like this are WHY I run.
Miles 8-14 in the park: 8:01, 8:08, 7:59, 7:56, 8:02, 7:40, 7:29
|sweat soaked and happy|
When the run was over, I wanted to carry that presence in my heart with me into my day. To remain HERE and NOW as I drifted from runner to mom and wife. I was drenched – completely soaked in sweat. It was so symbolic to me – I felt cleansed from the inside out. I sat on the front steps of the house before going inside to see my family and I knew that in minutes the day would explode into something completely different. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
Nothing in this world matters more to me than my family. Everything that I do, in some way circles back to wanting to be the best version of myself for them. For my kids and for my husband. I want to be strong for them. I want to be happy for them. I want to contribute my spirit and my passion and my love to making this family happy and whole. I want to be patient and I want to be present. Our days are filled with tantrums and break downs and tempers, just about on an hourly basis. But more than that, more powerful and more frequent, there is SO MUCH LOVE happening – so much goodness. I don’t want to be so overwhelmed by the stuff that I don’t enjoy about parenting and managing a family, that I am unable to enjoy all the AMAZING stuff about it that I love so completely. I need to be present for the moments that matter. To help my kids when they are losing it (and not lose myself at the same time!) and to savor the sweet moments of simple happiness that occur all around my day.
Moving my body helps me get there, it clears the cobwebs and the muck. Movement somehow stills the waters and makes everything clear and peaceful in my heart again. I am somehow renewed by a run. Somehow refreshed and rebooted – coming out of it a better stronger happier more PRESENT version of myself. At least until the next time I lace up my shoes.