“My long runs are a sort of vacation away from all of my wonderful ‘stuff.'”

My long runs are a sort of vacation away from all of my wonderful “stuff.”

As I was sitting in a faculty meeting this week and listening to my principal recount the story of Joshua Bell, famous violinist, playing incognito in a DC subway station back in 2007, I was reminded of why it is that I am so fulfilled by my running. Countless people rushed by Bell, hurrying off to very important places, completely oblivious to the beauty that was being offered to them, free of charge, simply for their enjoyment. On a long Saturday run, where I’m alone in nature for hours, I am forced to think, to pray, to appreciate the beauty around me, to open my eyes and see the many blessings I am fortunate enough to have in my life. I think about my husband, who is helpful, supportive, loving, and fun. I think about my wonderful daughters, who amaze me with their kindness, beauty, humor and intelligence. I think about my parents, who are aging gracefully and spoiling my family. I look around at my community and recognize how lucky I am to live and play in such a beautiful place. I think about my job as a high school librarian and all of the wonderful people with whom I work. I think about how fortunate I am to be able to run. I often just look … and think … and smile.

At home, I am distracted by emails, text messages, social media, television, household duties, etc. I always have something “on” in the background. When I embark on my long Saturday run, I know that I will be breaking away from all of that static. I know that I won’t need to speak to anyone, answer any questions … I won’t need to engage in anything other than what I see around me and what is in my head. My long runs are a sort of vacation away from all of my wonderful “stuff.” A way to unplug and appreciate my life. I recently discovered Kelly Roberts and her blog Run, Selfie Repeat. She is a beautiful spirit that encourages runners to enjoy their runs and to remember not to take running so seriously … to actually stop and appreciate everything about the run. I have begun chronicling my runs with run selfies, as Kelly suggests. It’s yet another way for me to remember how lucky I am to have found running, and to enjoy my runs fully.

Running at Memorial Park in Houston, Texas.

At the risk of sounding terribly trite, my principal and Kelly Roberts’ message is to “stop and smell the roses.” Not to just be grateful for what we have, but to stop and take in the beauty. To not be afraid to slow down. In our mad rush to get so many things accomplished and to receive information instantly, we forget to breathe and take in our world. The world is a beautiful place and we are fortunate to be out kicking around in it.

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