Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Savoring the here and now

Because of this sweet girl, I started reading this book. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but I like it. It's the way I try to live my life now and it's broadening my vision. I'm sure many of you have read it and if you have, I'm sure it's been life changing. You can't help but be changed by this book. And though it doesn't talk about running at all, I couldn't help but think about running while reading it.

Running has been many things to me over the last 9 years. And as my needs have changed, so has my reason to run. I initially started running to lose weight. Then it changed as a time to get out and be by myself. Truthfully, it still is a lot of times. I love being free from responsibility for an hour or so. There have been times when I've had consistent running partners and running has filled a social need. And there have been times when running has been a connection to God. It's been my solitary prayer time. My thankful time. Time to ponder questions and get answers.

Lately though, running has just been fun time for me. I've enjoyed just being out there. Experiencing and appreciating the now. Not looking forward to something in the future, even a finish line. Just loving the current moment. It has come about partially because of barefoot running and how it forces you to slow down and be in the moment. It is like being a kid again. For example: my 5 year old son and I went on a barefoot run. I let him lead. We ran when he wanted to. And it wasn't slow. We stopped and walked when he was out of breath. We walked along balancing on the curb. Then we ran balancing on the curb. We climbed rocks and crawled under bushes. We jumped over pinecones. We rolled down a grassy hill. And we went over 2 miles. It was one of the most fun runs I've done in a long time. Children can be great tutors.

But I also think this attitude shift that's happened is because of the season of my life that I'm in right now. My oldest child will be a senior next year and my youngest a kindergartener. My life is about to change drastically in the coming years. And I want to savor every minute that I have with my family how it is right now. It's not like I don't think the future will have happy times too. I'm not dreading a college student or even being alone during the day. I just know that it's going to be different than what I have now. Our family vacations are not going to be the same. We're going to have in laws join our family and someday I'm going to become a grandma. (O.k. Now that thought freaks me out a little.) I guess my point is that I want to really enjoy life right now. I don't want to wish or waste away time. Things sure have changed from when I was a first time mom and couldn't wait to hear their first words or have my little baby walk for the first time. Maybe a little wisdom and maturity have occurred and I am learning to love where I am right now. Somehow it's translated over to my running. Times don't seem to matter as much anymore. Even distances are a mere number and though I long to go further and faster, it doesn't consume me. I am happy in the here and now.

This is how Saturday's run was. The last "long" run before my next marathon. I decided to do it on trails again because that's where I really enjoy myself. From difficult downhills to lots of mud and water, I tried to savor every minute. Here's a few snapshots from what I saw on the trail.
















I'm not alone in this shift of thinking. Mike has adopted this philosophy with his running. And Katie noticed that smiles were the "in" thing nowadays. She and some other bloggers have started a collective blog that embodies the run smiley thinking. Go and read a few entries. You wont' be able to stop the smile from spreading across your face. Krista made some awesome logos for it. Go check it out and then try it on a run yourself. Leave the watch at home, bring the camera or phone along, and run for fun. Notice things around you. How the sun feels on your skin. How the wind moves even the hairs on your arms. How the sunlight dances through the shadows. Then come tell me about it!

Run :)

25 comments:

SbMac said...

I enjoyed myself yesterday when I ran. I didn't pay any attention to the clock and just looked around me. I have some pics up on my blog that I took while I ran! runningisalife.blogspot.com

Rachelle Wardle said...

Jen thank you so much for sharing this. I absolutely needed this today and I appreciate you being so open minded and sincere. Lately I have become so consumed with the competitive aspect of running I haven't been enjoying it as much. I really want to forget the numbers and just enjoy running again. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. The pictures from your run are absolutely amazing!

P.S. The plan for right now is to meet up at Yogurtland on Friday at 5:00p.m.

Teamarcia said...

Beautiful pics, beautiful run, beautiful post. Running is such a gift. Fast or slow we're all better off for getting out and doing it!
I ran sans watch this morning!

Julie said...

oooooohhhhh....how i loved this post! It gave me chills.

At Jack's baseball practice last night I was watching Mai run back and forth across the fields from me to the play ground...her body in motion, her hair flying behind her, a big smile on her face. She was so happy to be running...moving...being a sweet child. I love when I'm able to capture some of that myself. Oh Boy, do I!!

Kittee said...

This is a great post!

It is hard not to get competive during a race..

We all need to find the joy in running..

Beautiful pictures!

misszippy said...

The best post! You're in a place I'd love to be right now. And you're so spot on about savoring the moments--life passes in a flash.

Julia said...

Jen,

I love this. And your comments ALWAYS brighten my day...simply the best :) I am constantly reminded to try and stay in the here and now with my job...but it is not always easy given the stress of school, etc. That was definitely my best running though and by best I mean I was enjoying it fully and felt full of possibility when I was running from the moment rather than for something in the future or to cure a past bad run. It has been a while since I have had a true run like this but I feel that feeling coming back more and more in the past week. I am glad it has returned because I missed just that feeling of freedom running allows you when you are running from the moment!

Have a wonderful day! Can't wait to see you! And your pics, as always, are absolutely gorgeous!

Emz said...

seriously. I love your posts.

So awesome.

Now - the photos they are just an amazing addition to your awesome writing. You take an awesome self-port by the way.

Awesome job.

Elle said...

I love that you take your camera along and stop to take pictures to share, of the things you are enjoying along the way.

I have thought about this for a while and great to see you doing it.

Thanks.

Katie said...

Love, Love, Love that book!! I keep a list! The journal is open on my kitchen counter with pen ready to go. And I try to take photos when I remember too. I followed Ann Voskamp's blog first before I read the book and I think that the gratitude list can be transforming! It really opens you eyes to the gifts that God has given you! Great post!

Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} said...

i feel so inspired to get outside! i totally want to read this book now as well :)

Julie said...

I truly love reading your posts! I always smile while reading them and you always make me really think and appreciate the little things. :)

I ran a trail race in Arkansas this past weekend and I felt like I ran for miles with a goofy grin on my face because I felt so incredibly lucky to be healthy and able to enjoy running through the woods. It felt like tree, blade of grass and animal rustling in the leaves was my friend. Getting out in nature always makes me smile!

Have a great week!

Julie

Jennifer Cotter said...

Just found your blog, and am so glad I did! This is an absolutely beautiful post.

Wendy said...

Love this! Beautiful pictures, and you don't look old enough to have a senior!!

One heart and mind said...

A Grandma? Oh my heck that's weird. Loved your post. I so feel the same way and I cant' wait to get my fanny out there to enjoy it all! Next time, take a running buddy (pick me, pick me!)

Michael said...

Run... that's the message. Mike

Lindsey said...

Great post...loved reading the section about running with your boy!! I love the pictures as well. :)

Vanessa Kennedy said...

lovely post :) and gorgeous photos!

Jerilee E. said...

Oh, love this post! So glad to have found your blog! I know that I have been forgetting how much I love running as I prepare for these marathons. I think I'll have to do a stretch of no Garmin running after Utah Valley!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Aw! Beautiful post and pictures! You are so gorgeous in your element!! You are reminding us what running means--it should be enjoyed and not take away from your family but an added bonus!

I just love you Jen!!!

Running Ricig said...

This post is great! I love the pictures from your run, they go with enjoying life and enjoying your run for what it gives you. have a great day!

Holley @ Lunges and Lashes said...

we are going to have to work this whole thing out and meet one way or another! seems like we are just always at opposite blogger meet-ups! it will happen! i am determined. ;) beautiful run!

KT80 (Running Like a Girl) said...

I love the picture of your feet!

wendy said...

Thanks for sharing this Jen! I requested that book from the library. ;-)

My oldest is 16 and my youngest is 4 weeks. I am also striving to savor every moment of NOW.

Haddock said...

lovely flowers