The cool breeze hits my face as I open the door. I position my sunglasses and pull my long sleeves down over my knuckles. I breathe in the fresh crisp air and notice the buds just starting to form on the trees. I take a moment to appreciate this time carved out for myself. I start running. My legs feel a little tight and I am slightly cold. I take comfort in this because I know I will quickly warm up and be thankful I did not over-dress. Slowly I build to a comfortable pace as I wave at the neighbors taking their dog for a walk. As I hop over curbs on my way to the trail I appreciate my calves are able to catch my body as I pound into the cement. A bicyclist speeds by me. I see his wheels moving around and around as quick as they can to try to keep up with the pace the bicyclist is demanding. I hear the pop of a piece of gravel as he turns at the next corner. I continue onto the path and notice all the geese and ducks just waking up. They take turns honking and quacking at one another as they make their way to the water. At the next curve in the path I notice my body temperature rising. I am very comfortable in this pace, this place, and this time in my day. This is where I meditate. This is where it is easy for me to practice mindfulness. I allow thoughts and worries about life to float through my head. They suddenly do not seem like a big deal when I am running. I pause after each thought, worry, and anxious feeling goes through my body. I pause to appreciate nature, life, and to appreciate the health of my body to allow me to practice in this way.
I encourage you on your next run to forget the heart rate monitor, the smart phone, the GPS tracker, even your watch. Take time to breathe in nature and appreciate your health. Before you step out the door, be sure to memorize your run route or (gasp) write it down on a piece of paper. See the Heritage Classic 5K race map to start preparing for the next event.
Happy trails to you!