Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Let Go and Just Be

My “day” job consists of continuous walking and standing, resulting in tired feet when my shift is over, so thinking in terms of running to and/or from work seems just a little bit insane.  Yet, I decided to do just that…run home from work after a long shift on my feet.  While possibly insane, it was one of the most rejuvenating runs I have taken to date.  Actually, I have run two of these and enjoyed both of them immensely.  Why, you might ask?  Well, for a few reasons, at least.

I found that once I walked out the door of my workplace, it all fell away.  It was as if I had never been at work that day.  All cares, all worries, all work-related thoughts were gone.  When I drive home, I often rehash the shift’s events or how things went.  Not so on my run.  I was out there communing with nature as I ran.  It was all about the running, the feeling of total freedom, letting go of the day.  I was active in the moment in a highly tangible way I had not experienced before.

Even though my feet and body were tired, I felt a sense of rejuvenation and awakening as my heart rate increased and the blood began pumping harder through my arteries and veins.  Instead of feeling sleepy and exhausted, I felt awake and alert.  It was as though I had wings on my feet.  While I did not set a personal best the first time I ran home, which, by the way, is almost exactly 3.1 miles or the equivalent of a 5k run, I came close and only missed a PB by less than a minute.  I analyzed that first run and realized if I could cut off just one minute from the first mile, I would have a new PB.  I set about to mentally prepare myself for that second run home, well before I went to work that day.

As I set out, I again felt everything just fall away until the moment reflected only the run, the goal, the sheer enjoyment, the drive, the motivation, and the pain.  Yes, I said “the pain,” too.  Not pain in the sense of injury; rather, pain in the sense of pushing my body hard, harder than I typically push it.  Inside that pain was the fulfilling sense of purpose, of accomplishment on the near horizon.  And, I pushed through the pain, knowing it would be worth it when I crossed that imaginary finish line at 3.1 miles.  I was not disappointed.  I beat my former PB by 53 seconds, which was not too shabby, especially in the heat of the day.  I hurt the last mile.  I didn’t think I could finish it out, as my legs felt like dead weight.  But, I pushed on anyways, knowing deep down in my heart I, indeed, could make it and could keep up the pace.  It was an incredibly rewarding run and, while I was tired from the effort, I felt alive and alert, once again, and felt as though I hadn’t worked at all that day.

I will not attempt a PB every time I run home.  Sometimes, I will just run a pace that reflects a desire to just get out there and spend some time running and communing with nature.  Other times, I will push harder, driving my body beyond it’s comfort zone, putting forth increased effort to increase my physical and mental fitness even more.  You can be sure, though, that I will continue running home from work when I can, if for no other reasons than the love of running and the positive feelings that coincide with letting go of the day and just being.

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