By Pamela Canning
A night at the beach is always a welcome adventure, bringing comfort and peace; the salty air along with the soft breeze of mid-May is just delightful. My daughter, her friend, my sister and I decided to train at the beach one night last week; the place was alive with children, runners and games of Frisbee. My head was clear as we began running along the seawall, but my training quickly became unpleasant.
As we’ve been gearing up for a June 5K, training has been hard, but up until now mentally it has been manageable. But as I was running that evening, doubt entered my thought process. The voice began, “You aren’t going to make it, there is no way you will finish a 5K, who do you think you are?” For the first time the music in my earphones couldn’t bring focus. I was irritated and honestly quite pissed that I was being challenged. Even the catchy rhythm of Lionel Richie singing with Rascal Flatts, Dancing on the Ceiling couldn’t bring a smile (listen to the remake before you judge).
I began running because my oldest daughter and sister wanted me to join them in their new found joy. Never being one to exercise or have a competitive nature, something flickered within me and the answer was, “Yes, I want to join you.” What the running has become is a personal challenge to my spirit. What I have come to understand is the beach run was a test, one of ability, confidence, determination and success. I accomplished the training, but something was different. I pushed my body beyond what it knows, with that came an emotional and physical break. Never having been a runner, I don’t quite understand it, but what I can say is that nothing looks the same. I have a new sense of determination and focus.
On Saturdays we train with a group led by local runner Nancy McCarthy. A few runners meet on Low Street to work together toward our goal of running the 5K. Eight a.m. sharp, we begin. The headphones go on, the music starts, I look to the sky, feel the warmth and we move. This begins the ritual of acceptance and approval, each foot pounding on the pavement reminds me to look forward, not back. I run for the five year old child whose father walked out on her family. I run for the scared 15 year old girl whose search for love leads her to a bathroom stall with a positive pregnancy strip in her tiny hand. I run for the mother who lost her painful battle with cancer. Finally, I run for those who can’t. I accept the challenge, every step, every breath; every single movement is in gratitude for the ability to do it. I challenge you to do the same, step outside your comfort zone- do it for yourself first and then for those around you, become the person you want to be, today is a perfect time to start.
The spirit is an endless source of joy only made limited by our own thoughts, let it soar…..wonderful things are waiting for you.