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Sunday, November 27, 2011

rejuvenated

I'm happy to report that the last 5 days have been everything I wished they would be, and more.  It's amazing what a few days of vacation, time spent away with my family, can do to rejuvenate the spirit.  Not to mention the fact that I was able to run each and every day that I was gone, plus again at home this morning, for 33 miles in all.

I feel absolutely grateful, refreshed and whole.  SO much better than I did not even one week ago.

On Wednedsday morning I wrote about how I needed structure back in my running life.  How I was feeling as though I had slipped into a pretty major funk and needed to press the "reset" button on my running.  I felt confident that being in Virginia Beach for a few days on vacation with my family was just the place I needed to be to gather myself back together. 

It is hands-down one of my very favorite places to run and I was so truly happy to be there...

~ Wednesday's Run ~
When I stepped outside for my run on Wednesday afternoon though, the first day of my vacation, I was met with a dark and ominous sky.  It looked like a big thunderstorm was getting ready to roll through.  I've been looking forward to this run all day.  Please don't tell me it's going to thunderstorm right now.  For a moment I considered just staying home and postponing my run until the next day.  But something inside me - that strong desire to get out of my funk - told me I needed to at least give it a shot.  I figured the worst that could happen would be that the weather turned horrible and I would have to cut my run short.  A short run is better than no run.  So out the door I went.


About a half mile into my run, sure enough it started to rain.  But you know something - that rain was exactly what I needed.  It was beautiful.

As I ran in the rain, I imagined that the water was washing through me, cleansing me of all the negative thoughts and feelings of self doubt that had been creeping in lately.  With each step, my faith in myself was renewed.  My heavy heart was lightening.  Fears that I was losing my fitness, that all the hard work I put in over the last several months was disappearing, that all my successes had been some sort of fluke or mirage -- all of these fears began to wash away with the rain. 

Gratitude and hope took their place.

I thought about how I could have let the dark clouds scare me away that day.  I could have let just even the possibility of stormy weather prevent me from doing what I so desperately believed I needed.  But I didn't, and it was one of the most beautiful runs I have ever gone on.  As I ran along the oceanfront I could hear the waves crashing, the rain falling, my breath moving in and out, my feet rhythmically pushing me forward.  I felt like I was in my own secret world on that run.  And when the rain stopped I looked to my left and saw the most beautiful double rainbow stretching across the sky and into the sea.

Wednesday's run reminded me of why it is so important to push through our fears in life.  To not let the "what ifs" stop us from following our hearts and going after what we need and want in life.  It reminded me of what I am fighting for:  Joy.  Happiness.  Feeling ALIVE.


~ Thursday's Run ~
Thanksgiving Day.  I can think of no better way to begin my morning on Thanksgiving Day than to go out for a run.  I ran along the ocean again, the exact same route as the day before.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the wind was blowing.  I am certain that the smile did not leave my face through all 6 miles of my run.


So very much to be thankful for.  Health, happiness, love, family, home, freedom, laughter.  The list goes on and on and on.  So much to celebrate!

Virginia Beach on Thanksgiving Day
~ Friday's Run ~
On Friday morning I decided that I would change my routine up a bit and run on my very favorite trails in First Landing State Park (it used to be called Seashore State Park up until I think about 15 years ago).  This park is so beautiful and the trails are perfect for runners.  This is also the very best time of year to run through there - in the summer it gets pretty buggy and in the spring I have encountered some pretty large snakes - so I was really happy to log some miles through there on Friday.

my favorite running trails in Virginia Beach
I did a lot of reminiscing on Friday's run.  I thought about all the memories I've made in that park over the years.  I remembered when Robert first brought me to his parents' house to meet them for the first time.  It was November of 1999, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving.  We went for a hike through the park one afternoon, just the two of us.  I will never forget that day.  We'd only been dating for two months but we both knew deep down that we would be together forever.  I remembered running through the park the following summer, after we'd been dating not quite a year, and imagining our wedding day, imagining what kind of life we would build together.  I know my dreams were big and beautiful back then, but I also know that the *real life* and all that has ensued since then has been much bigger and much more beautiful than even I could have imagined.

Friday's run was about being grateful for the life I have been given.

~ Saturday's Run ~
Saturday I decided to run a bit farther than I had the other days.  I returned to the ocean once again and ran all the way to the end of the boardwalk and back, totaling 9 glorious miles.  I wanted to soak it all in.  I'm not sure when we will travel back to Virginia Beach again but it will most likely not be until spring or even summer.  This means that for the next several months I will not be running with ocean views!  I savored every moment of that run and watched as the sun sparkled across the ocean.  Took in the salt air and the warm ocean breezes.  I love the sea.  There is no doubt in my mind that one day I will live close to the ocean, maybe even in Virginia Beach.  I have absolutely no idea why I am so sure of this fact or how it will all happen, but deep down in my heart of hearts I just know it is meant to be.

~ Sunday's Run ~
Today I am home.  I started the morning with a run back on my good old stand-by, the W&OD Trail, with my sister Jodi.  We hadn't seen one another in almost a week and all that mattered today was being together.  The miles ticked by as we caught up on the past few days, what is new with our families and the thoughts that are swirling in our heads.  One more week until our next training cycle begins -- I know we're ready and both so thankful to be heading into this new season together with strong legs and rejuvenated spirits.

The week ahead will be structured but relaxed - I have plans to run almost every day but no set mileage to stick to and my pace will remain easy for every run.  My training for National Marathon (still working on calling it RnR USA, I will get there!) gets kicked off this coming weekend with my first ever 15k race - I'll be "running for chocolate" downtown on Saturday.  I can't wait!

5 comments:

I always worry I'm losing all of the hard work I put in, too. I've run 2x since the marathon, both times around 3 miles! That's mostly because of my leg though. Oh well, I guess I'll be back at it all in due time.

Seeing "nature-y" places to run makes me feel like Central Park isn't all that great! Well, the reservoir is pretty cool...

Those look like fantastic runs. I can't remember the last time I ran on/near a beach--I'm glad you soaked that last one in and that you're feeling like you got your groove back.

BTW, after a week of running Charlottesville I am very impressed with the running scene there. It's a super-hilly town and I saw tons of runners everywhere. I didn't get to do my long run out there as I'd planned because my husband and much of the extended family all got sick that day, but I'm sure we will be back and I'm looking forward to doing some more running there. Happy late Turkey Day!

Gorgeous! Sounds like some nice running! Glad you feel rejuvenated and back to yourself. Good luck in the Hot Chocolate race!

Can't beat running along the beach - good for the soul (and sole).

Loved this post! It gave me so much to think about during this last week before training begins!

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