I had been running for about an hour. It was dark and although the weather report looked good for the day, my fingers were frozen in the pre-dawn cold. I could easily see my breath, but struggled to find the trail. A pet peeve of mine is running in someone else’s headlamp light. It causes me to cast a shadow into my own light and challenges my footing. To compensate, I tend to over think what I can control. I force my thoughts to logistics: How is my pace? Did I select the right shoes? Do I need to adjust the fitting on my gear pack? Happy I thought to eat some avocado the day before. Cautious that I am only recently out of my wrist splint.
Suddenly, I stepped out of my own head. I stopped the endless stream of boxes I was trying to check. Have fun, dammit. It rang loud and clear. Have fun. You love this---let yourself fall in love. Don’t try to stop and analyze it, it won’t make sense. Just feel. Just be. Just do. Just step off the platform and take flight.
I checked back in. The sun was rising over a calm and beautiful lake, surrounded by fall foliage in full bloom. There was a slight fog that gave the scene a dream-like quality. Behind me I could still see the remnants of an immense super moon. It was a spectacular sight, and I felt blessed to be a first hand observer of Mother Nature’s paintbrush.
I ran strong, stronger than I have in months. I’d come to aid stations, and look at the miles I had accumulated…. wondering how I had pranced through so many. I took my watch off, and packed it away. I didn’t care what the time was, I cared about the time I was having.
I freed myself from thoughts about previous races, about my body’s ways of telling me I have been over-doing it, and about challenges I have yet to face. I shined a spotlight on this race, and in this moment. I dealt with only what was in front of me, and consciously decided to focus only on what makes me happy. I spent a few miles listing in my head events, people and moments for which I am grateful. I know I ran with a visible smile on my face. I know I am blessed.
My final challenge in the race was literally chasing the sun. That beautiful sun, that brought me out of my own head this morning was beginning to set. It was time to put on my wings and fly. With about a half mile to go, I watched the sky change to dusk and I smiled. I had done it. I let my body do what I had trained it to do. I freed my mind from the confines of boxes that like to be checked. I took chances, and was rewarded for my efforts. And, most of all, I had fun.