1,000 Miles: Month 4
Running takes time.
Any passion or project that we have requires time, but that time doesn’t appear out of thin air; we have to make that time. This is no news, but committing to running a certain number of miles a week means carving out space for a daily workout routine.
From the outside perspective this may seem tough. In fact, I have many friends that have said something along the lines of “man, that much take up so much of your time… I couldn’t do that” (note: yes, it does, and yes, yes you could). We’re all busy, and the thought of devoting at least an hour, sometimes two, almost every day is daunting to most. But the beauty of it is that eventually it becomes a habit. Skipping a run feels odd and disconcerting. It simply isn’t an option.
Month 4 was full of a lot of good things. Good weather in Paris and gorgeous morning runs. My longest run of the year – 12 miles! – followed by almond croissants. At the end of April I headed back to the US for a trip, and despite jet lag, I laced up my shoes every chance that I had, so I have been thinking about this time and commitment thing quite a bit.
I have to choose to make time for running, but in life in general, we have to make time for things that we deem important. I have to be intentional about planning in a run, just like I have to be intentional about all of my other actions. The lesson? Living intentionally is what gives us control, makes us feel good about our actions.
So much of our everyday feels as if it’s dictated by others. There are emails to respond to, deadlines to meet. But so much of the pressures that we feel in our everyday are the ones that we actually establish ourselves. Most of the time however, they’re unconscious, and so we find ourselves in situations that feel absolutely out of our control.
But we do have control.
Just like I have the control to say to myself “Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am going on a run before work,” I have just as much control over the rest of my life.
I have always said that I believed in living with intention, but in running I have not just said it, I have felt it. I have to run a certain number miles a week or come December I am going to be stuck on 10-mile runs every day – trust me, I’ve thought about this several times, and it’s a daunting enough thought to get you out the door to do just a few miles, no matter what else you have going on.
This means being intentional about making time to do those runs. But it has also made me more intentional about what I eat – post run breakfast of champions: fried egg on homemade bread with pesto. It has made me be more intentional about my work – as a freelancer I have been better about scheduling deadlines and taking weekends off. And it has made me be more intentional about my time with friends – it’s limited, I only want to devote time to people that bring positivity into my life. The benefits of running seep into everyday life, and those benefits aren’t just the physical ones.
Speaking of friends, this last month was also a reminder that 1,000 Miles isn’t solely about a few people achieving a goal, it’s about bringing celebrating it with our greater community. As I returned home, running became a way for me to connect with my favorite people. I’m back for a month on an extended visit, and I kicked things off with a surprise birthday dinner for a friend and then turned around and hopped on a plane to Colorado to attend 5 Point Film Festival (the film I have been working on won the People’s Choice award!).
I was not about to let any of that stop me, and so two days after crossing the Atlantic from France I found myself on an early morning trail run, wheezing through rolling hills and sucking in the fresh air. It was hard but wonderful. A chance to escape the urban jungle of Paris that has become my home in the last year. Here there were mountains. Trees. Space. So much space. The effects of altitude didn’t matter as long as my feet were on this trail.
The following morning there was an organized group trail run. Already intending on running I debated on going. But I was scared. A group run? With lots of other people that are probably all regular runners? Sometimes I get intimidated by just running with a fast friend. But a whole group of acclimated Coloradans kicking my ass up a steep trail, me wheezing behind and feeling like I can’t keep up? No thank you.
But then I reassessed. Shouldn’t I say yes to challenge? Shouldn’t I be intentional about pushing myself out of my comfort zone? Yes, yes I should.
And so I went. My first group run ever (I know, shocker!) and on trail at that. It ended up being wonderful, a supportive group of runners that just wanted to be out and enjoying Saturday morning. The first section was essentially all up hill. I walked a bit, but didn’t mind. At the top much of the group decided to turn around and head back. A couple of the women were going to push on and run a little extra.
“Do you want to keep going?” the leader asked me.
“The view is amazing, you should do it,” chimed in another.
“Ok, I’m in!”
If I was going to do this run I was going to do all of it. Intention.
And then I ran hard and it felt good. Turns out that committing to 1,000 miles in a year really does make you a stronger runner. Sure, I felt like I was sucking in air through a straw, but my legs felt good. Life felt good. The rain-filled clouds knew better than to break open. It was windy on the ridge, but it felt like as long as I ran, I was safe from inclement weather.
Being intentional about our everyday actions takes work. Sometimes it means pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. But when you’re intent about your choices, you’re in control. Living with intention means setting goals and setting boundaries, pushing yourself when you know you need to be pushed, letting go when you need to let go. It’s about conscious action. There’s always room for serendipity, but you take a stand against feeling like things simply happen to you. You make the choices that put yourself on a good path.
You choose your trails so to say. You may not know how they will wind or where they will take you, but you commit to them. Sometimes you turn around and go back and sometimes you push forward, but you do it all with intention, and the rewards are always sweeter because of it.
On to month 5.