I went for an outdoor run today and it felt really magical. Winter has definitely taken its toll on my training, my mental health and my ability to say no to carbohydrates, sandwiches with bacon and other items I should not be stuffing in my face. I have been in Maine for three winters now but this is the first one in which running has been a part of my life. Last winter I was running sporadically, not quite ready to come back to it and the winter prior I had just had Miles and was not interested in doing anything that involved sweat. It’s different up here, for sure, than it is in Massachusetts. The temperatures are indeed lower, the winter is absolutely longer and there are without out a doubt, a lot more hills. However, nothing feels as serene as a run in Maine and overall I have been enjoying my time on the roads here. Today, was a remarkably warm day considering how cold it has been in these parts recently. The dip has made me hate running outdoors and I have been wrestling with the treadmill. I mean, seriously, wrestling. I was anxious about getting back outside but once I did, I knew it was what I wanted to be doing.
While running, I thought a lot about what my old coach once said about looking down at the ground and I thought about someone I lost one year ago Thursday. My coach, a tough cookie of a man, would sometimes have these moments, and his personality would bloom, for a short while, enough that I could gather a tiny piece of sentiment and truth. He once told me to never look down. To always look up. The ground has nothing to offer you but what’s above it, most certainly does. That is where they lay and if you take the time to look up, they might just talk to you. Now, as a kid, I was genuinely confused about the point he was trying to make as he mustered these words to me. Even more confusing was the fact that he had just yelled at me five minutes prior. So, of course, I asked him what he meant. And his response was: everyone we have lost along the way. They are there, above you, waiting for you to take notice of them. You think these things come free? No, that is the cost of loving someone so much that God has no choice but to take them away and disperse that beauty throughout the world.
I was shocked. And stunned. And it’s something I have held close to my heart and never ever let go of.
I have lost lots of people since that sixteen year old conversation.
Today, while running, I took the time to look up and reflect my year missing this individual as well as the regrets associated with him.
And then, as I felt like I was sinking into my thoughts, this warm wind came up from behind me. I don’t think it was the person I was thinking of, special moments like that I reserve for my grandfather. I know he pushes me when I am out there running and I know today, he was saying, it’s fine. Don’t worry, it’s fine. You can move on.
When I talk passionately about running, it’s these moments that I get excited for because you don’t get to have them if you don’t run and that is the truth. These types of moments are reserved for those who can find the strength to pick up their feet and move, forward, even when it’s hard. Even when we don’t want to. Our reward is the beautiful landscape put before us by people we have loved and lost along the way. It’s the only way that it all makes sense. And today, I drank that up like it was the most glorifying beverage. I drank it down and I allowed it to take my body where it needed to go. I realized that the gifts I have seen have been put there on purpose and even when it’s too cold, I’m making myself go out there. I won’t find these treasures indoors. That’s for sure.
So, put your shoes on, there is time still in the day.
And go find that person you have been searching for.