As part of my published list of goals for the year, I started running. I started the first week of January, and I haven’t stopped. It’s not an activity I’ve ever really enjoyed. In fact, I used to complain the loudest when we had to run 2 miles each day during tennis season. But now I’m older, with the desire to get out and do something with my free time on summer evenings or during my lunch break on cloudy winter days.
What I realized tonight, is that my running forces me to ‘be in the moment’. What’s behind me doesn’t matter. It has already passed. What’s in front of me, I can’t see (literally, because I don’t wear my glasses). When I start to think I’ll run into a scary situation, like a loose guard dog (it’s happened!) a wave of anxiety washes over me. I feel my chest start to close and my breathing pattern change. I lose my focus and start to panic.
But then I learned, I can’t be afraid of what’s in front of me until I actually see it. In the moment, I’m actually really enjoying myself. Deep breath, in and out. Focus on the present and be in it. I think it’s okay not to have any set goals. No dreams of winning 5k races, let alone marathons. I don’t know where the finish line is. It’s just a series of slight improvements in pace and distance each month, and that’s what is most fulfilling.