363.64 Miles and More…

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“The one thing that I really appreciate about being a runner is the incredible friendships and camaraderie that we, as runners, share.”

 ~ Jen Rhines

 

Well… 2015 has come to a close and what a year it has been! I’ve received an abundance of gifts that consist of new friendships, energy when I thought I didn’t have it, enlightenment – mental, physical and spiritual; a cultivation of awareness, discipline and integrity, and my husband’s relentless support and patience.

Being able to run is indeed a precious gift to me. As runner Julie Frondyman put it: “Running makes my live whole”, I couldn’t agree more. There’s so much to running that when put into words, it limits the essence of running. One simply must experience for himself.

After running the 2014 OUC Half marathon and the 2015 Tomoka Half marathon, I wanted to join Track Shack MarathonFest. I was petrified by the thought of enrolling myself to a 32-week training program. “I shouldn’t do it, you couldn’t do it, how are you going to do it” thoughts popped in my head over and over. It only reassured me to just do it as I dragged Kurt along with me.

Running can be perceived as an individualistic sports rather than collective. Being a Marathonfester has shown me differently. Our running group is truly a unique family. We call it “our running family.” From the first few Saturdays runs with our pace group, I felt the support, respect and camaraderie to one another.

There has been group dinners, extra runs, bridal showers, baby showers, breakfast potluck and our usual “Chatty Cathy” runs in which conversation topics are unlimited. Running the short and long runs became easier as we motivated each other. Our coaches’ enthusiasm, route planning and set up of water/Gatorade stations was everything a runner could wish for besides an injury-free training.

This year I ran a total of 363.34 miles including three half marathons and one 5k. It’s not a lot in comparison to a more experienced runner, but it means so much to me. Each mile taught me a new perspective; some brought me tears, but most brought me joy. I think that running teaches an individual the value of sympathy and gratitude. We know how much effort it takes to run the extra mile and to push ourselves. And even if we haven’t reached a new PR, we are still grateful for what our bodies allowed us to do.

Our happiness is not limited to what we are able to accomplish. Part of our happiness is when we see our running buddies, our loved ones, an elite runner or an anonymous runner pounding the pavement, crossing the finish line or simply joining us for a group run. It’s a genuine joy and it completes our runner’s high.

It has been a 363.34 mile journey equipped with an unimaginable support. I hope the energy I brought has made a difference to my running family as much as theirs have made for me. Happy New Year! Happy Run!

“Running is ultimately a personal experience.  It is a revival of the spirit, a private oasis for the thirsty mind.  Yet, its healing power only increases in the presence of others.  Run together and the oasis grows cooler and more satisfying.”

~Amby Burfoot

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