I went out for a run this morning after taking a little over a week off. Whenever I take any amount of time off, a small seed of self doubt sprouts and I start to wonder whether I’m losing conditioning, losing muscle tone and losing my mental edge. In other words, I needed to go out this morning to make sure that I was still in the game.
I tied on my shoes, strapped on my iPod and headed out into the cool morning air. My immediate feeling was one of relief. Nothing had been lost. I looked down the familiar stretch of road and settled in for an easy 4 miles. You know, the asphalt is such a familiar companion that it almost feels like a friend. Regardless of the city or the state, it pretty much feels the same under my feet and that is quite comforting, particularly in the predawn hours when you’re only companions are the trees and the road.
As the miles slowly ticked along, my muscles loosened and my mind wandered. The stress that I carried high in my shoulders slowly dissolved and without though, my stride lengthened as if my burden was lightened.
Each step of my run was like the passing of a rosary bead. Caught up in the grace and redemption of the run, I came down the home stretch feeling as if my soul was cleansed. There’s a certain lightness that those miles bring to me that I have never felt within the walls of a church. Thankfully, my ritual of the run comes more than just once a week because it is my peace between stretches of chaos.