Because of this sweet girl, I started reading this book. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but I like it. It's the way I try to live my life now and it's broadening my vision. I'm sure many of you have read it and if you have, I'm sure it's been life changing. You can't help but be changed by this book. And though it doesn't talk about running at all, I couldn't help but think about running while reading it.
Running has been many things to me over the last 9 years. And as my needs have changed, so has my reason to run. I initially started running to lose weight. Then it changed as a time to get out and be by myself. Truthfully, it still is a lot of times. I love being free from responsibility for an hour or so. There have been times when I've had consistent running partners and running has filled a social need. And there have been times when running has been a connection to God. It's been my solitary prayer time. My thankful time. Time to ponder questions and get answers.
Lately though, running has just been fun time for me. I've enjoyed just being out there. Experiencing and appreciating the now. Not looking forward to something in the future, even a finish line. Just loving the current moment. It has come about partially because of barefoot running and how it forces you to slow down and be in the moment. It is like being a kid again. For example: my 5 year old son and I went on a barefoot run. I let him lead. We ran when he wanted to. And it wasn't slow. We stopped and walked when he was out of breath. We walked along balancing on the curb. Then we ran balancing on the curb. We climbed rocks and crawled under bushes. We jumped over pinecones. We rolled down a grassy hill. And we went over 2 miles. It was one of the most fun runs I've done in a long time. Children can be great tutors.
But I also think this attitude shift that's happened is because of the season of my life that I'm in right now. My oldest child will be a senior next year and my youngest a kindergartener. My life is about to change drastically in the coming years. And I want to savor every minute that I have with my family how it is right now. It's not like I don't think the future will have happy times too. I'm not dreading a college student or even being alone during the day. I just know that it's going to be different than what I have now. Our family vacations are not going to be the same. We're going to have in laws join our family and someday I'm going to become a grandma. (O.k. Now that thought freaks me out a little.) I guess my point is that I want to really enjoy life right now. I don't want to wish or waste away time. Things sure have changed from when I was a first time mom and couldn't wait to hear their first words or have my little baby walk for the first time. Maybe a little wisdom and maturity have occurred and I am learning to love where I am right now. Somehow it's translated over to my running. Times don't seem to matter as much anymore. Even distances are a mere number and though I long to go further and faster, it doesn't consume me. I am happy in the here and now.
This is how Saturday's run was. The last "long" run before my next marathon. I decided to do it on trails again because that's where I really enjoy myself. From difficult downhills to lots of mud and water, I tried to savor every minute. Here's a few snapshots from what I saw on the trail.
I'm not alone in this shift of thinking. Mike has adopted this philosophy with his running. And Katie noticed that smiles were the "in" thing nowadays. She and some other bloggers have started a collective blog that embodies the run smiley thinking. Go and read a few entries. You wont' be able to stop the smile from spreading across your face. Krista made some awesome logos for it. Go check it out and then try it on a run yourself. Leave the watch at home, bring the camera or phone along, and run for fun. Notice things around you. How the sun feels on your skin. How the wind moves even the hairs on your arms. How the sunlight dances through the shadows. Then come tell me about it!