Monday, April 11, 2011

Finding Serenity on a Sunday Afternoon


I always told my self I had outdoor induced asthma and that was why running outside and I never got along. Usually I have trouble running outside and find myself coughing for hours even after the run is over. But Sunday was different. It was one of those days that you can only dream of where you wake up with no responsibilities, no chores to do, no phone calls to make and no one to report to.  It was one of those rare days where running actually came easy. On Sunday, I was lucky enough to not be dreaming.

Despite being woken up around 9am because Mr. Boyfriend had to go to work, I managed to get a little more sleep and laid in bed until noon.  I remembered it was supposed to be our first warm summer-like day so I looked outside for confirmation and saw people in shorts and tank tops.  I debated staying home and just relaxing on my balcony (which doesn't get sun until later in the afternoon) or laying out on the patio downstairs. Seeing the shade on my balcony and no chairs on the patio, I decided not to be lazy. It seemed like a lovely day for some outdoor alone time, away from the apartment. So I got dressed, grabbed my iPod and headed out. What was initially my intention to just walk along the Lake Michigan waterfront path turned out to be a full days adventure! 

I don't like leaving home without my phone, money or keys because I am always thinking that, What if something happens to me?  So I carried a teeny-tiny backpack. As I walked and watched people practically skipping with happiness, I thought about the blogs I had read like the Girl With the Red Hair or Bun & Burrows, and how they are always talking about their positive running experiences. (Thanks girls for the inspiration!) I thought about how I kind of went on a running hibernation over the winter, as I focused a lot on core and yoga classes, but didn't run as often as I could have.  But something about the sun shinning, people playing and me being alone, lost in thought, listening to music on an absolutely gorgeous day made me oddly at peace.  So I started just running north along the lake path. I can't say I ran the whole time, but I ran a majority of it. I am guessing that it was about a 2 mile path, in each direction. I saw a dog swimming in the lake, people playing volleyball, bikers, rollerbladers, runners, people running on a mission, and people strolling just taking in the day. When I got to the end of the path, I started heading back, ran into my neighbor (hi!) and then continued on.  I saw a friend running on a nearby path, so out of nowhere, this energy built up and I chased after her. I didn't think I had it in me to sprint but I was motivated to catch her. I made it possible.  She was heading in the direction I just came from so I turned around and we ran/walked a bit together.  Since I had already done this path there and back again, I suggested we walk back through the zoo which is parallel to the lake front. ( I love animals so I am a sucker for zoo's, even though I don't like that they're caged.)   We walked back through the zoo, through the park and then headed home. After we said goodbye, I met up with my neighbor again and we walked over to Whole Foods.  My feet and legs were tired, but I just kept walking. After a great workout, shopping for vegetables just completes the healthy feeling of the day. I bought a couscous and cranberry salad that was to die for! 

All in all, I was outside for three and a half hours and covered about 5-6 miles. I went out for some me time and came home completely rejuvenated and sunburned. I did not expect to get burned in April! But LOVE that we finally had summer weather!  Walking is bit rough, though I am not as sore as I expected. The second full day is always the worst, so I will not be surprised if I move a little slower than usual/waddle tomorrow.  

I never thought I would find peace and serenity running but Sunday turned out to be absolutely perfect. Just me, doing what I wanted to do.  I had no time restraints, no responsibilities, no worries. I was able to just be alone with my thoughts, my music and go at my own pace. We all need some alone time from time to time.  Maybe it was a mix of being the first warm day in months or having the freedom to follow my feet wherever they lead me, but it turned out to be the perfect Sunday afternoon!

How do you find time for alone time? What do you do that helps you find serenity?  

Love, Caryn


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