this weekend, i did a lot of my favorite things. i went to the lake. i spent the whole weekend with the people i love the most. i ran, i swam, i boated, i salsa danced, i celebrated my parents, i went on convertible rides in the sunshine with my brother, i drank wine and laughed and slept and forgot about anything that wasn’t related to the joy of being exactly where i wanted to be at every.single.moment.
it all started with boarding a train on Friday afternoon and ending up here:
after sleeping 10 hours Friday night because i absolutely could, i set out for a run on one of the most gorgeous mornings of the summer. Saturday was sunny & bright without a touch of humidity; one of those mornings that you wish you could duplicate again and again, for as long as we all shall live. i was determined to run for 2 hours on those hilly back roads, and decided i wasn’t going to think about my pace but rather focus on just enjoying the day and getting the miles done.
mission accomplished, happy to say, and felt really good 13.1 miles later!
i didn’t set out to run my own personal half marathon, but once i hit mile 11, i made that my new morning goal. the first 3-4 miles were a struggle: lots of hills, sore legs, and that initial mental & physical battle for settling into a long run — but once i hit mile 5, i knew i’d turned a corner and could enjoy it. it wasn’t fast by any means, and i ran out of water by mile 10 and had to stop at a gas station (Stewart’s — anyone upstate knows this!) to refill, but i felt better than i expected for finishing a long run at noon on a sunny August morning.
i ended my run (strategically) at Target, where my mom came to pick me up (she’s such a keeper), and then went home to spend the rest of the day on the lake: kayaking, boating with the fam, and relaxing with a book and homemade peach sangria. pretty darn perfect.
this is the first long run (over 10 miles) i’ve done since the Brooklyn Half in May, i’m pretty sure, and i was thinking a lot during it about my relationship with distance running and why i run, as well as how i’m feeling about running a marathon in October. here’re my thoughts on why i’m still pushing myself to run distance:
- i love the discipline. i’m used to working hard at things in my life, and to be honest, i don’t have that right now in every area of my life. i do have that in running, however, so long as i create those goals and continue to push myself toward them. i love having something to work toward; something hard that challenges me and stretches me outside my comfort zone and gives me alllll the feelings: love & pain & frustration & anxiety & joy & purpose. running does this for me.
- i need the “me” time. i am an extrovert by nature, but the older i get, the more comfortable i’ve become being alone — so much so that i now crave solo time and go a bit crazy without it. to better illustrate this for you: one of my best friends tagged me in this Instagram this weekend:
running gives me some structured personal time that allows me to separate from the craziness and be alone with my thoughts, or my music, or my prayers, or usually a combo of all 3. i’ve become so accustomed to carving out this time time that on the days i don’t run, i realize i need to find other ways to be alone for a bit and tap out. in this sense, running has really done wonders for helping me balance my time & energy and learn the art of carving out quality me time.
- i love how it’s changed my body. i feel stronger & look stronger & have so much more self confidence than i did before i started running seriously. i’m much more conscious of taking care of myself and treating my body well, and prioritizing my health. i want to be fit & healthy for a long time, and running has taught me how to be good to myself.
- it helps me make better choices. yes, i would like to go to bed early on a Friday night, so i can’t stay out late. no, thank you, i don’t want another drink; i have to run in the morning. no, i can’t eat that before a run, i know it isn’t a good fuel choice. yes, i will drink more water. yes, i will spend more time stretching. yes, i will order another bikini. 🙂
- the clothes. because having a dresser just for workout clothes and knowing you’ll actually wear everything in that one dresser makes me suuuuuper happy about my life choices…and gives some much-needed purpose to my shopping habits. i have no idea what i’m wearing at work half the time, but i’ll be darned if my running outfits aren’t cute, comfortable and varied.
- it makes me feel alive. running reminds me of all that i can do, if i put my mind to it. it makes me feel like the best version of myself: a girl who can set a hard goal and work through the sweat, labor and tears to achieve what she thought was once impossible; a girl who is in control of her life & choices; a girl who doesn’t need anything but an open road and a whole lot of determination to make something extraordinary happen. a girl who may not have always made the right choice (should such an absolute exist) in every area of her life, but who can choose one thing every day that reminds her what it feels like to strap on brand new wings and relearn how to fly.
that’s what running does for me — it pushes me beyond my current self, toward the most elemental version of me that i’ll forever be becoming. it reminds me to believe in the art of forward motion; of constant reinvention, down whatever road my sneakered feet just might so happen to choose.
Tell me something great about your weekend!
Anyone at the beach/lake/on vaca?
Runners: What does running do for you?