As I was getting ready for bed last night I said to my husband “man, I feel full”. Lying in bed, reflecting on the amazing weekend I had, I realized that the warm, comforting, satisfied, full feeling extended far beyond my stomach. I did feel full of delicious food and beer after a really fun day in Marin, but it was more than that. I felt full of nature after a weekend of glorious trail running through redwood forests, eucalyptus groves, along the ocean and up some very large hills. I felt full of friendship after hanging out with old friends and making new friends. I felt full of excitement for what the future holds. I felt full of strength after conquering some hard training days. I felt full of gratitude for my husband’s health after getting to run with him for the first time in a very long time. I felt full of life after almost getting blown away by the wind while the sun was shining in my face. Given the terrible events around the globe this week, and other personal losses this year, I feel incredibly grateful for this full feeling and realize how lucky I am to be here experiencing the joys of peaceful everyday life, and I endeavor not to take any of it for granted.
I have learned over the past year and a half that I am able to appreciate most of these things that give me a full and joyous life through running. Running, especially on trails and in nature, is my personal meditation and reflection time, and I have found that without running in my life I quickly lose sight of the things that matter. I have met many of my closest friends through running. I have tested the boundaries of my physical and mental strength through running. I have found joy and solace in running. I have found my personal strength through running. I watched “Without Limits” for the first time on Friday and a quote by Bill Bowerman has stuck with me:
“Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life.”
Now, I am by no means an Olympic level athlete and I am not doing the type of running one would need to be on the Oregon track team. However, I have found meaning through running, and for that opportunity I am extremely grateful.