But today’s run felt a little different, had a reminiscent feel of many, many years ago…
When I first began my fitness journey I was 19 years old, a sophomore in college. I drank way too much beer from the kegerator in my living room and consumed entirely too many slices of late night pizza. I’d started to notice.
So I bought a bathing suit and hit the university rec center every day with thoughts of swimming my way to a fitter, slimmer me. Lap after silent lap I started what was to be, unknown to me, a lifelong journey of getting to know myself. Swimming eventually gave way to running, hiking and backpacking. I spent so much time in my early and tumultuous twenties performing these lovely, repetitive sports that I literally worked out friendships, boyfriends, first job, marriage, faith and loads of other things in my head. Right there on the road or the side of a mountain or under pounds of chlorinated water, I was becoming my own best friend.
Fast Forward (almost) 20 years…
Fitness and exercise are part and parcel of who I am. What I do and how I do it have changed over the years. The marathon, half marathon, triathlon, crossfit, body pump, cycle, yadayadayada. I have moved for distance, for time, for strength and for the hell-of-it. I have climbed mountains, canoed lakes and dug my own snow hut for sleeping in a winter overnighter.
Though now life is busy. It has an energy all of it’s own even without needing me to drum up business anymore. There are many things that vie for my time. My family, my job, my workouts… my responsibilities seem to have their own heartbeat, demanding my every breath. It is easy these days to approach my workouts like a box to check. Another responsibility that is as essential and routine as brushing my teeth.
But occasionally… the sun will shine-down-warm on me in the middle of winter. I will head out for a run and decide not to set my watch or my route or my playlist. I will run with my thoughts and let them rub up against my brain til they’re smooth. I will decide to enjoy every step of the moment and live fully in it. And I will realize that after all, the moment, is actually all I have. I will connect with all that is right and true in the world while silently lamenting all that is not. I will just be a child of the God who created me. And from that a thankfulness will well up from deep in my soul and it will remind me exactly why I run or even exercise at all.
For the love of it.