I have been a runner my whole life, however, I started as a speed runner and then became a long (er) distance runner at 17 years old.
I just ran the Houston Half-Marathon on October 30th. I hadn’t run a race in a while and I said: what a better opportunity to start this new adventure (ie. I moved to Houston from New York last July) than training and then running through downtown Houston. But I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did during the whole process… Running is so much more than just running, it generates amazing skills, all applicable to LIFE itself:
• Mindfulness: it is true that many times when you run your mind starts wandering and going to all kinds of places, but this time it was different. I was totally focused on the moment, path, time, mileage, speed, breathing, nature…it was some sort of active meditation.
• Patience: there is literally nothing to do, just running
• Breathing: the amazing feeling of being fully present
• Energy Control: one of my goals while I run is to make sure “ I don’t run out of gas” so I “check on myself” every now and then, adjusting the breathing, the pace, etc. Every runner hits a “wall” (ie. Bonking) at some point, so I want to be ready when that happens. What if we applied this monitoring to everything we do?
• Being alone, just me: there is so much activity and noise in our daily lives that running (when you go out on your own) becomes this sacred space where it is you against you, only. Very powerful and humbling at the same time.
• Being present: similar to mindfulness. I ran the half with no partner and no music. I focused on the path, the people, my breathing, the landscape, the fog!, the water stations,… I was “in the zone” the whole time…I didn’t need anything else.
• Staying calm: during training and, in particular, during the race, there are moments of weakness. The key here is not to panic, focus on your mind and body, adjust the breathing and speed and keep going…what a great lesson for life!
• Nurturing myself: when you are training for a specific goal, everything else revolves around it: nutrition, sleep, travel…before, during and after the race I was paying attention to all angles to ensure I enjoyed the experience, while taking care of myself. This applies to all goals in life!
• Peacefulness applied to day-to-day activities: I realized I was “behaving” the same way in and out the training field: waiting in line, playing with my kids, reading, just hanging around…The serenity I get from running was spilling to all areas of life…
No matter what you decide to accomplish in life (nothing is too small) when you put your body and mind on it, you can be the hero of your own journey! Go be a hero!
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