Yesterday, like on every Turkey Day, I will go for a long run before I head over to eat like a glutton of pain and misery. It’s my way of justifying eating a whole turkey and a half by myself. Usually I think an 8 mile run makes up for what I am about to do to my poor body. I don’t know how many of you think that a mile equates to half of a bottle of whiskey drinking justification, but if so, we are totally booze brothers.
Anyways, back to running. Over the last 6 years or so, for some reason I have taken to running on special events and holidays. Every Christmas day, Birthday, Halloween, Arbor Day, what have you, I always seem to catch myself pounding the pavement and running usually farther than I regularly would.
I don’t know if you have felt it before but there is something about the cadence of my runs that helps me relax and focus. The step, step, step. The breathing in unison with each foot striking the ground, the feeling of air rushing into my lungs. The white noise that comes with the outside world. Running for me is a very therapeutic experience. Not just because of the “runners high” bullshit you see everywhere on things like Instagram, but because it seems that running is one of the few places in my life I can let go of everything. I am a very high strung person and people pleaser so I am continually feeling pressure and guilt for not doing everything I am supposed to be doing. I constantly feel like my time could be used more appropriately. Even when I am at work, or with friends, or even watching TV, I am never doing enough. There is always something better.
Sorry, tirade of self-pity that hopefully will get people to read my post and like it for my own selfish ego-tistical reasons.
When I run, I really open up my mind and take in the world. I really give myself time to reflect, on an almost spiritual level, about the holiday and momentous splendor this day will bring to me. Many people give thanks with their families and friends. I give thanks with the cadence of my feet hitting the ground and letting the world move around me. I use my run to let go and take the time in my life to appreciate who or what I have around me. Running, because you can’t do anything else while sprinting, allows me to focus on one thing rather than feeling pulled to do a million other tings. I have given myself permission to only focus on running when I do.
Yesterday’s run was more so special than to me than other turkey day runs in the past. Yesterday snow was falling, there was no one out, and the weather was cold enough to give a good burn to your lungs. As I was running,I watched as the snow come down making the world look like a white landscape. As I looked in the distance I saw no cars and no people just myself and the snow. There was a comforting silence as little white particles drifted all around. Not a soul in sight. The time to reflect and think about what I was grateful for uninterrupted by distractions and pressure to do better. As I came up to one of my favorite hills I slowed down to a stop to look over and see this beautiful winter wonderland. I saw all of this white, all of this peace, all of this tranquility.
And I cried.
I balled. I just fell to my knees and became a blubbering mess. The world around me was frozen and still. And for the first time in a long time I was able to not jump from project to project. I was able to live in that exact moment and let all my emotions I had been holding in or avoiding to come out all at once. I allowed myself to feel alive and experience something for myself and myself alone. That cry was not one of sadness but a reaffirmation of my life and doing something for myself. It was tears of realizing that in this lonely world where it is constantly moving and we feel like we have to be a part of it, there is a stillness. And in that stillness is where we find ourselves. Where we are not selfish but we are living for ourselves. We are experiencing life for no one but our own experiences. Where we truly know we’re alive.