When you are striving to run at your highest level, running can be extremely rewarding yet hard and fatiguing. Depending on how you perform, running can make you feel on top of the world or disappointed and discouraged. A run can leave you with an extra pep in your step, or it can make you sore and achy for days.
I am lucky to have the opportunity to run and work towards my goals. Whether I am tired or energized, running is a choice I make and a road I have decided to follow. No one pushes me or cares about my training, results, or paces as much as I do. The pressure, dedication, and expectations are all created from within me. I get to pick my own goals, sign up for the races that excite me, and ultimately run however my heart desires.
I am a runner, but I am also so much more than that. Even though running gives me tremendous enjoyment and fills a huge part of my life, I know I can be happy and create a new path when my approach towards running changes. When I do not have the competitive drive to race anymore, there will always be easy runs. When I can no longer run, there will always be swimming, dog walks, arts & crafts, and family. I can choose my journey and view my successes based on my own desires and needs.
We cannot always be our best, but we can be present and make do with what we have right now. There is no better way to prepare for the future than to focus on what we can do today. When we think too hard, we lose focus. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let go of our thoughts and just have a quiet mind with a sense of clarity in this very moment. It helps me to center my attention on the mile I am running not the ones ahead or behind me. It also helps to minimize distractions such as electronics or noise and to reset our attention on something fresh instead of getting caught up in a task or rushing.
When I spend many hours a week running, I have a lot of time to think and let my mind wander. While I love letting my mind go free, I also love being present. It helps me carry a sense of calmness throughout my day and brings a level of awareness I wouldn’t have otherwise. I sense my breathing, the leaves crunching under my feet, the crisp air, the color of the sky, the quick movement of my legs, the chirping birds, and the wet kisses from my dogs. Being present gives me quiet confidence and makes us more pleasant towards others. In a world of uncertainty, it keeps my life simple.