The sky was a brilliant shade of blue, the air was cool and the morning sun cast the countryside in an invigorating glow. As I shook out my arms and glanced around, I found myself happy to miss the group run this Sunday morning, trotting through my 12 miles alone. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company, it’s just that sometimes I enjoy being alone, taking in the daybreak by myself with an occasional “good morning” to strangers out for their solo morning run or stroll with the dog.
I have one friend who calls her weekend long runs her “church.” Another who describes her reason for taking up triathlons because it was “cheaper than therapy.” Yes, sport has not just a physical side, but a spiritual and emotional one as well.
Emotionally, this particular run served as a vitamin boost. While the first four miles were spent smiling and daydreaming, the next four miles were spent picking up the pace and working some hills. That part of the run featured a bit of aggressiveness and confidence in my strength. Ah, but then came the final few miles, particularly the last three, when the running just got hard. I suffered, but I kept going, anticipating the joy that would come once the Garmin read 12 miles. There was a satisfaction in pushing aside the negative thoughts and completing the run with a bit of a push — a little addition the experience account which I can draw from in other times, athletic or otherwise.
Spiritually, running soothed my soul. I felt alive and part of the universe, embracing gratitude and immersing myself in the moment (So much so I yelled out “HERM!” as a gentleman approached me in the opposite direction near the end of my run. Only, it wasn’t my friend Herm. It was a stranger. He either didn’t know what I said or was just another happy runner, because he smiled and said hello back.) Through the movement and the beauty of the day, I was connected not just to the obvious blessings in my life, but to truthful and authentic qualities about myself.
Running, it seems, has a particular way in which it soothes my soul. So the question goes to you:
How does running (or cycling, swimming, rock climbing, basketball playing, etc.) soothe your soul? Offer your thoughts in the comment section on this blog post by Friday, April 8, 2011 and be entered to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners. (Which includes my piece “Changing My Story” about my first marathon experience.)