I’m a reclaimed runner. Before having kids, I used to frequent an array of 5Ks, 10 milers, even a few half marathons. I’ve never loved running, but there is just something about it that keeps me coming back. An unparalleled calorie burn, for sure. More than anything, it’s the simplicity of the act. Me, a few clothes, running shoes, some groovin’ music, and the road. That’s it, nothing more.
Next spring I hit a milestone of birthdays: the big 4-oh. I’m not dreading that mark nearly as much as I did my 30th birthday. I feel I have accomplished many spectacular things during my past decade: two beautiful boys, the birth of my business, marrying my best friend, and completing three moves to completely different parts of the country. Even as I write this, I can’t believe it has all happened inside the span of 10 years.
So, I want to celebrate 40 years on this planet. Big. And I’m not talking face-down-in-the-vodka-slush celebrate, I want to do something of epic proportions. And I’ve found my definition of that: completing a marathon. It is 26.2 miles of learning more about yourself than you ever knew possible. Because all the trials, struggles, and triumphs you ever want in life can be found inside that singular test of endurance. When you emerge on the backside of the finish line, you can’t help but be a changed person. It’s a fitting tribute to four decades of bad decisions, questionable acts, and magnificent choices.
After gaining my good feet and momentum back, I’m returning to the trails to begin the months of training for this marathon of celebration. It has been a slow and arduous process, making my way from couch to 5K. But, I’ve reconnected the beauty of running: slowing down. In this rat race of life, we get so caught up in all of the things that should have been done yesterday that sometimes we forget or, worse yet, ignore all the beauty that surrounds us. I challenge you: sometime today, just stop. Stop and take a look around you. Draw in a deep breath, let it out slowly. And look. Really look and see what surrounds you at that particular moment. You will see so much beauty, such interesting things that you ignore as you usually rush by. I’m not saying you have to strap on running shoes, but take some time every day to savor the beauty that Mother Nature has given us. You won’t regret it.