Sunday, April 3, 2011

Running Lessons - Taking time to "just be"

Heading out for my "long" (8km) run today, I knew I would have to go slow and be gentle with myself.  After all, I kicked some serious butt last weekend at Around the Bay (video and photos here), and my aging body needs time to recover. Still, I had to remind myself repeatedly to run slowly and not expect too much - which was hard on such a beautiful sunny day on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Fortunately, I had a couple of excellent reminders of the importance of taking time to savour the moment this weekend. I spent last evening with my niece. We went out for supper, did a bit of necessary shopping, played games, assembled puzzles and read books until her folks came to pick her up. There's nothing that brings you into the moment like spending time with a three and a half year old. Her complete engagement with the present was palpable. It was a joy to watch her mind whirring behind her big blue eyes as I taught her the fundamentals of dominoes, and to witness her glee when she won our first two games.

Then, this morning, Her Majesty (my elder cat, Ranee) climbed into my lap as I sat in a sunny window sipping caffe latte and reading a book. Petting her as she lolled there purring, I was struck by the sense that I was experiencing a perfect moment with my old friend and that, since she is getting on and I may not have her with me for much longer, my only goal for a little while should be to "just be" with her, enjoying her gentle presence.

Drawing on both experiences, and (admittedly) still feeling a little tired from last weekend, I gave myself permission to stop at the half way point of my run today (the bridge pictured below) to sit by the river for a few minutes drinking in the warmth of the spring sun, the sound of water rushing over rocks, and the brilliant blue sky overhead.

After many months of pushing myself to get stronger for my race and be more productive at work and at home, it felt good to just be - in my body and my life - to feel free of the pressure to train harder, do more, be better.  I think it might be a very good thing to spend a little more time in that space in the coming weeks and months.

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