Running is a time to think and a time to calm my mind. Sometimes great ideas and stories come to me on my 8 mile journey, but I have a hard time recalling them later. In contrast, when I can relate a thought to a spatial segment of my run, my memory improves. On my last run, I thought a lot about studying and homework. I want to share some of those with you now.
When I asked you if you were a writer, some of you wondered what that meant. Does it mean I write effectively? Does it mean that I am published? My first thought while running, was am I a runner? My initial answer was no. I’ve played sports all of my life, but never considered myself a runner. In fact, I never ran for the sake of running until my early 30’s after taking a running class with my oldest daughter, Nicole. Shortly after that, we ran our first 5K at Myrtle Beach. We both felt like we accomplished our goal and we were both very proud of ourselves and each other. My next goal was the Virginia Beach half marathon in 2005. My husband and I followed a training plan and reached our goal.
In both cases, we had a goal that we worked towards. Was the goal to try something new? Enjoy running? Finish the race? This made me think about studying and homework. What is your goal? To learn something new? To enjoy learning? To finish your assignments on time? Do you even have a goal for homework?
I have been running seven to eight miles several times a week since last year. I remember when I couldn’t even run one mile! I have the things that make me happy and motivate me. They are my running shoes and my music. My initial goal was to finish. Now I have a new goal to improve my time and run longer segments. Running is mental. There are many times when the path is flat, I am breathing steadily, and my legs do not hurt, but I want to stop and walk. I have to talk myself through that moment and focus on my goal. My goal, competing against myself and not other runners, keeps me motivated.
I try to make running a priority for me. Running helps me pay attention to other things I need to do later. I am constantly thinking and processing when I run which helps me work out other challenges I face. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I set goals and meet them. I fail sometimes and that is good. Failing makes me try harder the next time. Change helps me stay on task like taking a new path, listening to different songs, or the delight of getting a new pair of running shoes. I feel like I have accomplished something, finished something, when I return from a run.
So, I ask you, what activity gives you time to think? What recharges you? When it comes to studying, what keeps you on task, keeps you motivated, helps you get to the next segment and push through? What helps you finish? And how do you feel when you succeed?
As I lace up my shoes and select my playlist, I look forward to hearing your ideas when I return. Am I a runner? What I do know is that I am running.