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Two mindful miles

October 8, 2013

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn’t been exercising recently. Well, after a very stressful day of core clinical skills training, which involved taking turns, in small groups, carrying out initial sessions with actors role playing as service users, I knew I needed to clear my head and burn off some nervous energy. I laced up my running shoes and hoped that my still tight lungs would get me through a short run.

To my delight, it was a beautiful, warm fall evening, and the sun was just starting to fade, leaving the last of the summer flowers basked in a sort of surreal glow. And as soon as my legs got going, I didn’t want to stop. I had a route planned, which started off almost straight up a big hill, and although I had worried about how I would feel after a break from running and a bad cold which is still lingering, in the end, I had to force myself to stick to the route rather than carrying on up the hill and extending my run. The last few weeks without running, combined with the stress of the day, made me appreciate the feeling of my legs and my heart pumping and my endorphins surging, more than I have appreciated it in a long time. It wasn’t about the distance or the speed last night, but about soaking up every moment of sunshine and warmth, every detail of the sunset-drenched flowers, and the feeling of being fully alive and in the moment.

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(I even stopped to take two pictures on my phone along the way because the lighting was so amazing – I haven’t used any filters, but the lighting was still far more beautiful in person).

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Last night made me remember why I have grown to love running, and although the days when it’s raining or grey are far less appealing, and on the days when I’m tired or busy my motivation may drop, I want to hold onto the feeling of last night’s run for as long as I can.  As we enter the last few months of the year, I am less convinced than ever that I will make it to 365 miles this year, but last night reminded me that I want to enjoy running rather than seeing it as yet another task to cross off my to-do list, which is always long enough as it is. Really, at the risk of sounding totally cliché, last night reminded me that it isn’t all about counting the miles, but making each mile count.

So no matter what my phone app tells me at the end of the year, I think what I need to ask myself is not how much did I drive myself crazy trying to get those miles in, but how much did those miles help to keep me grounded and happy during the past year. And last night, two miles gave me a calmer mind, a confidence boost, energy to come home and tackle boring tasks with a smile, a good appetite, and a good night’s sleep.

Not bad for two miles.

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