It’s a beautiful warm sunny summer-like day. I can’t sit at my desk another minute. Sunscreen on my face…check. Music and headphones…check. Time for a mid-day break? Yes! I head out the door for a 5-mile run. The breeze is strong. Feels good. It’s warm.
My legs move lightly, slowly on the sidewalk. How many times have I moved along this route? Hmmm…almost 12 years I’ve lived here … certainly thousands of times. The movement feels natural. Doesn’t take long to get into a rhythm. I melt into the music. I feel stronger with each step. Each step forward stokes the fire of memories…of my younger self doing this very thing. It’s not just a mental image that comes – no, there’s a visceral connection…I can feel myself in the past…
I am 13 running the back roads in Flour Bluff, Texas. It’s flat and dry, and I am young and strong. I have energy enough to sing out loud with my cross country team mates: “Heidi Hey, Heidi Ho, lift them knees, lift them high ‘cuz Coach Perry’s passin’ by”
I’m 17, like a doe in the woods of Northern, Virginia. Independent, mostly in competition with myself. I run along side my youthful buddies who are always fostering healthy competition. Cross country camp – like a steam train “I think I can. I think I can.” – I gratefully take the mental mantra for chugging up the hills. 24-hour relay and sub 7 minute miles 1/3 of the way in – really?! Dad had to come out to talk some sense into us.
I in my early 20s escaping my grad school studies on the roads of Athens, Georgia. My knees threaten me so I learn to ease up. I finally reach a point where I am ok with mixing walking with the running. It’s about being healthy after all.
Over the years, I traded in the running shoes working flats or roller blades or a bicycle. But, I always came back for that feel-good feeling. Running is an energizing charge to the body, a release for the mind, a massage for the spirit. Running is my therapy. Running is one place where I have a very clear sense of flow. (Read more about my thoughts on Flow over at Leading With Intention.)