Tag Archives: Running

Quite Possibly the Best Run I’ve Ever Had

I didn’t want to run tonight.

I spent all weekend at school covered in dirt and fake blood, learning how to save lives, splint injuries, clean wounds, conduct a full body physical exam and focused spine assessment, and record patient data to pass records off to the helicopter (or car, donkey, or mule) evacuating them from the field once we’re done administering wilderness first aid.

So I was tired. And I didn’t want to run tonight.

But I did, because tomorrow night is back to school night and therefore I’ll probably be even more tired on Wednesday.

Turns out, this run was the best thing I could have done tonight.

I took a long route by mistake. I told myself I’d turn around and then I forgot because the run felt good and steady. I was in East Coast Park, the grass was springy, the breeze that comes every evening smelled like salt and ocean, and there were fewer people around than usual. So I kept running.

About halfway, I stopped. I took a breath. I sat on the rocks in the sand, as low as I could without getting wet, for about 15 minutes. What I began to understand on those rocks qualifies this as perhaps the best run I’ve ever had.

As I always do when I pause in the park, I just looked at the water. I found it in the air and I breathed in it. But waves are mesmerizing , hypnotic, and I felt my eyes close. I let them. And then I listened.

I know that the remaining senses sharpen when one is removed. I know that you can see waves roll and hear them crash. I didn’t realize that you can also hear waves roll. I had never thought about the energy that keeps waves in constant motion. For the first time, I heard the waves rolling down the beach. I heard them crash and I heard the crash ricochet, tumbling down the beach. And when I opened my eyes to see what I was hearing, I lost it. I love watching water, but I’ve never spent much time just listening to it. I sat there on the rock for those 15 minutes, eyes closed with occasional peeking, feeling a giddy smile on my face each time closing my eyes brought the sounds back. Brought the energy back. My rock was just above the tide line but I wasn’t always sure based on the sounds I was hearing, the water pulling back, rolling forward, like rocking a cradle.

I was surprised how quickly time passed and how lost I’d been in the sounds of such a powerful force. It literally swept me away to a different understanding of energy and how it drives all things. Energy is everything there is, everything we touch, everything we are, and the connections we form with each other. I could say those words before, but I understand them now.

Learn something new every day.

Take time to be still and quiet.

On the run home, and even now still in the wake of endorphins, I felt happier, calmer, more connected to the natural world and the people around me. At the end of the day we’re all part of the same thing. And I have to believe that on the most basic, human we’re all just doing the best we can to hold it all together.


Tonight, I did two things that are unusual for me:

  1. I got my nails done.
  2. I sat still and stared off into space and let my mind turn off.

In fact, I sat still and stared off into space and let my mind turn off while getting my nails done. When she finished, the manicurist invited me to stay for a few minutes. I didn’t realize how calm I felt until I took her up on that.

I realized that I didn’t remember the last time I had simply sat and stared off into space. I  do let my mind turn off pretty regularly, which is something I love about running and yoga. But just sitting? Just staring? Never.

True, I was having my nails done, so it wasn’t nothing. But I think that’s what gave me the freedom to do it, to just sit and stare without seeing. While my hands were literally in someone else’s and once polite conversation and small talk waned, there wasn’t much I could do except sit and look off into space.

Reflecting on it now, I don’t know what I was thinking about or if I was thinking at all. My mind found its way to a quiet place where I didn’t have to think about anything and where nothing was weighing on me. Strangely, I didn’t feel guilty for not doing something else or something additional with that time. I didn’t feel pressure to make mental notes or plans or go over anything in particular.

It’s strange to me that this is a notable moment, which is why I’m sharing it. I often feel like I need to keep my mind occupied with reading, listening to podcasts and the radio, or talking with others in effort to always learn something new, always be useful, always try to be better than I am. It was nice to step away from that (without using running or yoga as the excuse) and let my mind go wherever it wanted to go.

As I write this, I’m laughing at my own fascination with the enjoyment of quiet and stillness. I think it’s really the stillness element that made the whole experience unusual. People who know me well know that I can’t sit and I definitely can’t sit and do nothing. They know that I hate sitting and doing nothing. That’s why sitting always comes with reading or other people or food or writing, all of which I love and which occupy the majority of my time. I can’t even sit and listen to a podcast; I need to be up and moving for those because sitting while listening seems far too self-indulgent. (Let the record show that I am aware that this is illogical.)

But maybe a few minutes of stillness is good for me. Maybe that’s what I’ve been missing when I tell myself that someday soon, I’ll try to develop a meditation practice. I’ve been wanting to do that because it’s supposed to be good for you. And I’ve been putting it off because I don’t know if that interested, except that it’s supposed to be good for you. Somehow, it’s different when I think about trying a meditation practice because stillness is hard for me but felt good today.

And even if finding quiet and stillness continues to be a rare happening in my life, I’m glad that I found some today.

A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live. – Bertrand Russell

Tiny Win

I’m not much into competition, but I won today and I feel like celebrating while the win lasts. Therefore, this post.

Going to and from work today took a long time. 85 minutes there. 110 minutes back. Dark when I left and dark when I got home. Not pleasant. I was frustrated about this when I got home, frustrated because it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I hate running in the rain, which meant I had to run today. In the dark. Again.

So I compromised. I talked myself into a short run. Less than 30 minutes. Less than 4 miles.


Fine. If you say so.

And then I did two things that made a huge difference.

  1. I wrote to a friend, “I’m having such a hard time.” I said a few other things, too, but admitting that I am struggling took a weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I have talked openly about this to a few people recently, but felt physically better today.
  2. I swapped motivational workout messages with another friend before heading out for said workout. And took a picture of my fun neon clothes. Now I had to make those clothes worth something.

I got outside, started my watch, and flew.


For the first time in months, I was running for me. For me. Not out of anger or frustration. Not out of incompetence or inadequacy. Not away from something or towards something else. Not letting various narratives play out in my head. Just running.

For the first time in months, I didn’t pause to stare into the East River and think about how deep the water is. I didn’t look up at the bridges and think about how high they are.

I just ran.

Song in my head? “Jessie’s Girl.” That one has come up before, but I haven’t heard it in a while. I’ve always enjoyed that song. I used to listen to it thinking about how lucky that girl was to be so loved.

But tonight was different.

Tonight I thought about all the women I am so lucky to know who are so loved by so many. I thought about how beautiful they are, in all the ways. I thought about everything I admire in these women, as individuals and collectively. I was overcome with pride at having such people in my life, people I try to emulate.

I ran feeling good, happy, and whole for the first time since this nightmare began a few months ago.

I didn’t look at my watch until I got back and yes, the run was quick.

But it doesn’t even matter.

Demons, I beat you today.

And I will carry this torch with me into tomorrow.