I wrote this not long after our trip to Sedona when I was still feeling wrapped up in the same head space. I was on the brink of something new professionally, but at the same time walking through the challenges that so often accompany life’s transitions. This particular weekend in Santa Monica was important in deciding where one thing would end and another would begin. Now, from the other side, the weekend reminds me of the ways that running serves and accompanies us as we navigate change and uncertainty.
Recently, I have not wanted to run. Last week the winds finally changed and I found myself lacing up, eager to get out the hotel door. I landed at LAX on Saturday afternoon, greeted by sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s. I dropped my bags at the hotel, enjoyed lunch on the veranda and then went out to run a few miles.
The next few days were really, really tough. That ever volatile combination of stress and frustration and self-imposed pressure combusted on Monday afternoon leaving me feeling at once shaky in the aftermath of a confrontational conversation and relieved for having said what needed to said.
With Tuesday morning came an important professional commitment. I woke up early to prepare and was greeted by entirely too much of the emotion of the previous day. As if reaching out to an old friend, I grabbed my running shoes and ran out the door. I ran to Venice Beach, then I ran back to the Santa Monica pier and walked onto the beach.
The run was so hard — perfectly hard, I suppose. My breath was heavy, so were my legs and so were my thoughts. Disproportionate in difficulty to distance or level of exertion, the run perfectly mirrored the state of my heart and head – discombobulated, trying to find my breath, on the brink of exhaustion.
I stood at the shoreline for a few minutes, watching the waves. I took in a big inhale of the salty air and thought about the day ahead. I could see my hotel in the distance; it looked small. I began to catch my breath and with it came the smallest sliver of perspective about the day ahead.
As I walked back up the beach to the boardwalk, I realized I wasn’t thinking about yesterday anymore. Somewhere in the miles behind me, my mind’s vice grip on yesterday’s events had loosened and I’d let them go.
I turned back towards the hotel; internally I turned and faced the day ahead. I consciously decided to replace my stress with hopeful expectation, then I ran back to the hotel and into a day much better than I could have imagined.
As for running, it feels so good to be back. Seems I had almost forgotten about the power of our sport – the ability to move oneself from one point to another, the ability to create space and adjust one’s outlook. Space to be and to think, forward movement and perspective – here’s to lacing up and letting go.