6 years ago I began a journey that has taken me to a place I never imagined. This place is far different than I would have envisioned that lifetime ago. It is better in some ways and harder in other ways. But I wouldn't change this journey. I wouldn't change this path.
Today I put on my running shoes for the first time in exactly three months and one week. October 12, 2014 I ran the Chicago Marathon and had the time of my life. I PR'd by 17 minutes after having less than stellar training runs leading to the race. I also knew, deep in my heart, while I was in Chicago that my life was about to take a sharp turn. I didn't want to acknowledge that upcoming change but as I look back over that weekend, I knew something was happening inside of me that I couldn't avoid any longer. That weekend was one of strength, joy, independence and conquering fears.
Since that epic weekend I haven't strapped on my running shoes. Not once. Part of the reason was all the craziness that took over my life. Moving, adjusting, holidays and trying to get a handle on a new way of looking at life and living. There was another reason, though. I was afraid to run. Running was a catalyst for my journey. Running was the medium where I found my zen. It was also a source of a lot of angst. Chicago was beautiful and amazing and an accomplishment. It was a statement of how far I had come and how much I had changed. It was the perfect running memory and I was afraid to mar it with any other running memories.
Until today. Today was my day to run. I have been feeling the need to get out and find the peaceful zen I can only achieve while running. I can let my mind go and allow thoughts and feelings to wander in and out at will while I run. My most inspired lessons and posts have come to me while running. I open up my heart and soul when I run. It is a feeling unlike any other. I challenge my body while running but my mind is freed.
I pushed through the fear and put on my shoes and ran today. Without meaning to, I donned the exact same outfit that I used to run Chicago. I won't lie and say the run felt AMAZING. It was hard. My muscles aren't used to that kind of push. But it was FREEING. I found that zen place that I have been missing. My soul let go and my mind opened up. And here is what I thought:
I started this crazy journey 6 years ago. I had no idea that my life would change so much. I had no inkling that I could find such love, support and strength inside my own soul and from the people that have become part of my world. I had no way to know that I had the most amazing support from within and around me the whole time. While I was running I decided that I would post about the difference between the beginning and now.
It starts with a picture.
It continues with words I choose to hold in my heart and soul as I move through this phase of the journey:
I will finish it by bringing it back to the numbers. I didn't run today to push hard or achieve a particular pace. I ran to free my heart and mind. But what I discovered is that I haven't lost my pace or my fitness in my time off. Here are the stats: my overall distance: 7.5 miles. My overall pace: 9:21 min/mi. My last two miles, running up hill, were sub-8:30 min/mi. Maybe my Boston Qualifier will happen sooner rather than later. Who knows.
Until next time.