Appreciating the Journey

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I’ve always loved running but having babies, sustaining some minor injuries and moving across country SEVERAL times in the past few years had shut me down. I gained some weight, started to feel crummy about it and the downward spiral of anxiety made me feel even worse.

Then, last year, my sister did her first Half Marathon. She and her friends joined a local charity group and just started hitting the road. Always having been the “runner” in the family, I was a little humbled when my sister invited me to run 8 miles this past spring and I couldn’t  keep up.

Fast forward a few months and a lot of miles later and I’m back to my stride. My sister and I actually a Half Marathon together (the See Jane Run race in Alameda in June – it’s awesome by the way!). Crossing the finish line with her was such an exciting experience for me. Getting to share the thing I’d always loved with her made it so special. Now it’s something we can share forever.

Someone asked me this week why I run. Since no one is really chasing me (in fact, the mom is usually the one DOING the chasing!), I had to really think about it. Then the true answer hit me this morning. I run to replenish my soul. I know that sounds cheesy and the photo I posted looks like something you’d find on facebook. But I took that photo and I wrote that caption. It’s MY truth.

The thing is, I’ve constructed my life so that it has always happened in high speed with high intensity. My husband met, got engaged and married within 11 months. We moved from SF to Boston a week later. That’s where we had our first child. After whining for 3 1/2 years about the weather, we moved to Seattle, only to find weather I could tolerate even less. We lived there for 53 weeks to.the.minute. From Seattle, we went back to SF for a few months, where our 2nd child was born. Then a year in San Carlos and now we’ve been in Walnut Creek for 9 months. We think we’ll probably stay but we reserve the right to cut and run at a moment’s notice.

Professionally, before I had children, I always worked on projects. My job was a series of small jobs and I was always looking forward to finishing and starting on the next one. I never had the privilege of savoring the fruits of my labor – I was already moving on. In fact, I’ve moved on from so many endeavors that I can’t even remember most of them.

This brings me back to running. As I was running on the American River Parkway trail in Sacramento this morning (where I’m visiting family), I noticed a “shortcut” off the trail that cuts off a curve in the trail. I noticed myself make a conscience choice not to take that shortcut. And it hit me. I’m learning to appreciate the journey. Running is helping me slow my thinking enough to enjoy each step. I don’t run fast but I love to run for at least 90 minutes at a time. I savor my runs. Running all those strides with no real destination ahead of me is teaching me to appreciate the process.

Isn’t that what wellness is really all about?

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