Thoughts From My Run

With each step, more falls away…comparisons, anxieties, old stories that just don’t serve. There is just this next step, and then this one. Air pumps in and air pumps out and breathing becomes part of the work. There is nothing but the trail, the trees, the late evening light, and one foot following the other. This is what freedom looks like. 

As I travel the road, it can be difficult to feel grounded and connected to place, but the trails and the feel of my body in motion bring me home over and over again. Sometimes the trail is lined with magnificent trees and sometimes with feisty cactus, but whether it is snow or sand or stone underfoot, there is always a familiarity, a path I know. 

In this season in Maine, far away from where I stand now, the trees are without their “cover,” without the leaves that so often mark their beauty. As I run,  my own cover disappears, and I am laid bare before myself and there can be no secrets within me. I am free, but freedom comes with truth and truth comes with responsibility. Will I try to once again hide or will I find my courage, will I remain naked and feel the elements as they rake along my exposed self? I dig for that courage. I yearn to be brave. To embrace movement over stasis.

It is so often implied that to run is to run from. But what if I am running toward? It is toward that propels me on, that calls me to continue. It is toward that gives me the space to look back at from and see it as a friend. Hello, friend, it’s so good to see your sweet smile.

If you aren't following Terry Cockburn yet, be sure to check out what she's up to...runner, yogi, teacher, I assure you that she can inspire you in a million ways large and small! I routinely refer to her yin sequences to keep me running injury-free and her Running On Insight posts to keep me motivated. I have the coolest clients EVER.

In The Heart

As I've mentioned here a few times lately, I recently traveled to Greece to document Terry Cockburn's solo marathon in the birthplace of the marathon. In the heart of Athens, she woke in the pre-dawn hours, not for a medal or fanfare, without support or spectators, but for the simple joy of the work and the beauty of the challenge. She met unexpected obstacles along the way, a planned route that had to be scrapped, brutal hills, high temps, traffic that never yields to the pedestrian, and yet she ran on, continuing to put one foot in front of the other until she reached 26.2.

It's never easy to push ourselves, to step out of what we know and away from what is comfortable to pursue a goal, and I would argue that that is especially true when the goal is seemingly arbitrary and comes without public accolade, when it doesn't "count" for anything "official". It's in these kinds of pursuits that true character shines through, in these moments that a person's real mettle is truly tested. Pride can't carry you- no one is watching. There is nothing but the internal dynamic, the potential dialogue with our inner self-critic when inevitable doubt creeps its way in during a moment of exhaustion, the choices we make about which of the stories we tell ourselves we allow to become truth. 

Terry is an athlete in the truest sense of the word. She is one of the most disciplined and driven and focused people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She is a runner and a yogi and a teacher and a mother and a wife and a business owner and a writer, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of all that she puts out into the world. Her dedication to this challenge and the mental acuity she brought to the pursuit was fascinating to watch and an honor to be a part of.

Be sure to read more about Terry's run here!

--------

Nothing like a little yin yoga during a layover to keep things loose...or checking email...the realities of being a business owner...

Getting a sense of the city...and realizing that the marathon route planned from home wasn't going to work...

Miles of walking the hills of Athens in pursuit of a new route...

Game day. The route was still a little shaky, but Terry wasn't. Long before first light, she was ready.

A little dynamic warm-up, and off she went.

Running past the Panathenaic Stadium at first light...

...along the National Garden...

...and into the First Cemetery of Athens...

...and to the Acropolis, through the throngs of tourists that began to gather as the hours passed...

A quiet finish among the crowds in the Plaka...

Who needs a medal when there is gelato and waffles?