Friday, February 15, 2013

Left turns



My runs seem to parallel my life. It always amazes me how a journey by myself with only my body to move me to a new place always seems to intersect with what’s happening in my life and it almost always gives me a new perspective.

I ran part of an old route and part of new route today. I started with what I knew and then decided to take a new left hand turn.

I was excited at first. I had been really bored running on the treadmill all winter and I was ready for an invigorating new outdoor run. I had high expectations. The road I turned on was really long and slightly uphill. I felt really tired and a little scared that I would end up walking shortly after I turned. I was distracted and overall the road didn’t feel right. I thought that was odd because I was almost sure I had run a portion of it last year. I told myself it was all in my head and to keep going. Halfway down the street, lost in my thoughts, I stumbled and tripped on the sidewalk. It felt like a slow motion clip in a movie. I was lunging forward and my legs were wildly continuing forward trying to balance my body. It lasted seconds but it felt like minutes. In those split seconds I felt wildly out of control. I focused on my legs keeping up with my body. And after a few seconds I caught my balance again. My heart was racing at the near disaster. But after a moment I realized I was ok. I had caught myself and saved myself from what would have been a pretty bad fall. I was running again, albeit slower, but I kept going. Eventually I came to a familiar road and I turned. I had to run up a big hill to get to it. It was hard. Painful to be precise. But I pushed up and before long I was back on a route I knew. I decided to get off the sidewalk and I ran on the side of the road. It was smooth and familiar and it felt good to be back to a place I knew. I decided that maybe I would try the new road another day. I wasn’t sure if it was the wrong road or the wrong day and time for it. The only thing that was clear was that today just wasn’t the right time as much as I wanted it to be.

On my way home I thought about how I had stumbled and tripped in parts of my life the past few months. I ventured down several new roads and as exciting as it was in the beginning, I ended up tripping and nearly falling right on my face. Thankfully I’m heading back on course now, with a new appreciation for my life. Even though tripping and nearly falling can hurt, it can also provide an invaluable lesson along the road of life. It can reveal that you are moving too fast or that you are on the wrong course. It can be the way life stops you dead in your tracks and forces you to change direction. Or it can simply be a way to get your heart racing again! Mid life is such an interesting time. In some ways it almost mirrors puberty except with a keen new awareness of our limited time in the world and a newly visible finish line you now start to see in the distance. You feel the need to make all your moments count, to rediscover who you are, re evaluate where you have been and decide where you want to go in your second half.

Running is the one activity that I do alone. I have to count on myself to make it. Every time I cross a finish line or reach my destination or goal time, I gain more confidence in myself. What’s interesting is that the confidence transfers into my life in so many ways. I feel more confident in my decisions about the girls, my business, my appearance.

I realized today after my stumble that running keeps me humble and reminds me that life, with its left turns, heart racing near falls, and smoother familiar roads are all part of my unique journey. And in the end life is really all about the journey.