Gratitude Pace

The rolling hills were small and gentle, lined with beautiful New England foliage which colored an otherwise grey sky. The rolling hills were also freaking endless. And by Mile 6, they were not as charming as they were at, say, Mile 2.

Welcome to my weekend 11-mile long run.

I was visiting my friend Carolyn and woke up early to start my run with sunrise. There was no pace work. It was all about logging the miles so I didn’t concern myself too much with pre-planning my route through her suburban Massachusetts neighborhood. Armed with my Garmin I set out to run 11 miles. There were plenty of places my mind could have wandered off to. I’m a week away from my next half marathon. I’m running half marathons on back-to-back weekends. In a five-week period, I will have run three half marathons which, quite frankly, is a little insane. There’s travel. There’s work. There’s half-finished projects and half-incubated dreams. All of those thoughts could have easily taken over my mind at any point during my long run.

Instead, I started to focus on people I admire. I started to think about people in my life who are doing awesome things. I asked myself what I found awesome about them. What inspired me? What motivated me? What made me think, hells yeah! 

It was not an all-inclusive list, but there were a number of people who came to mind. I drew from their support and encouragement. I drew from the way in which they have pursued their own goals. Life is not a zero-sum game and so as I thought about the successes of the people I admire, I found ways to tap into my own strength.

And as I thought about the pure awesomeness of those people, I noticed that those rolling hills weren’t bothering me much by Mile 8 anymore. The longer my run went, the better I felt. I was no longer forcing anything. I was no longer worried. I was no longer judging myself. I found a space to run free. I found a space to run in gratitude. Everything else seemed like a detail. And the details, I’ve discovered, always have a way of working themselves out.

“This is the earnest work. Each of us is given only so many mornings to do it – to look around and love.” — Mary Oliver

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