Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Break My Stride

on August 7, 2015

Me and Jared Me and Running Girls

Sometime last summer, I decided to try running. I was inspired to do so by simplicity; I wanted to be able to exercise wherever and whenever. So, I went outside, and in somewhat of a Forest Gump fashion (minus the distance and dozens of followers, but sharing in a decent amount of determination and wearing my comfortable shoes), I ran.

I made it about 45 minutes without stopping; I didn’t go fast, and I have no idea how far I went, but I did it – and I liked it. Later that same summer I ran my first 5K.

Now it’s this summer, and a month-ish ago I ran my first 10K. My goal was to sign up, show up, and finish – which I did; setting attainable goals is a healthy pattern I am proud of.

Several friends (photo on left) and some family members joined me on this run – a friend that I had known since grade school, 2 friends from college, my cousin Jason, his wife (my somewhat sister!) Eva, and my awesome nephew Jared (photo on right).

Jason and Jared ran the 5K; after Jason was done, and many of the 10K’ers had crossed the finish line, he ran back to find me and see how I was doing. He found me almost finished, with a somewhat surprising amount of energy to spare (having no routine reference for this distance, I wasn’t sure how to pace myself, so I stayed slow and steady).

We ran the rest together, which was SUPER cool. Jason is my oldest first cousin and it is in his nature to look out for me as opportunity presents; at times (and sometimes it’s been our secret) he has been a version of a big brother I never had. Jason and I are very different people; but even when I was at my worst, I don’t think Jason would have judged. In my mind, he had a confidence in me that I only recently discovered myself. I think he always knew I would eventually end up at okay – which I did (and then some J).

Jason is an experienced runner. So as we headed towards the finish line, he gave me some advice:

Lengthen your stride.

So I did it – and it felt great. Restrictions were replaced by a more graceful and floating feeling as I let myself leap from one step to the next. All I wanted to do once this was over (was sleep and then) practice this new pace and feel that freedom and flight again.

Since then, those words of wisdom have served as a source of encouragement; my pace has picked up, and my breath (mostly!) remains steady. I am conscious of my new efforts for the first mile or so, but after that I find a natural (stretched!) stride, freeing my mind to ponder and play.

On my most recent run, I found myself making a metaphorical connection between my newly extended physical stride to the recent strides I have made on my journey to be a better person than the day before (aka my steps towards self-awareness). My mind settled into a seat in my happy heart and highlights of my past six months took over my stage.

What is comes down to is that I have truly been “lengthen[ing] my stride” for the (at least the) past six months. My decision to become an active participant in my own life – connecting to people, places, and improving my performance has turned thoughts into tangible targets.

I have made my actions louder than my words (Because I said I would). I run towards things, not away. I have been able to be that better person than I was the day before on many occasions that I celebrate here and now.

My run resulted in a realization that I am more authentic and accountable than six months ago.

My platform for living is stronger, and for today, so am I.

Listen! Break My Stride

One response to “Break My Stride

  1. Maggie says:

    I like your motto- I run toward things and not away from them. Running is good for the body and the soul.


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