I ran my 10th marathon last week. Went back to Big Sur for the third time. Undertrained, unprepared. It was hard. It's over now and I am ready for a break from races, a break from the financial stress of saving for races, a break from the mental weight of having to train for races, a break from the guilt when I don't.
I started running 3 years ago to feel empowered and have time for myself. It was a journey to find myself again. I lost weight (and then gained it back). I met amazing people and now have the dearest, lifelong friends from running. I've travelled the world to run, been to places I'd never imagine I'd go... and now I feel tired.
I am the first to admit that I am an obsessive person. Very few things in my life are done halfway. I immerse myself in a passion for a few years and then my head gets tired of it. I never totally walk away, I grow richer and wiser. But I just can't sustain that energy towards something forever.
Balance is an overused word, perhaps even cliched. But I am searching for it. I have fallen in love with the concept of minimalism. It's not that I am trying to make my house (or life) bare, but that I am trying to make room for the things that are of utmost importance to me. My children, my husband, my mental and physical health. Running is part of that, but I am realizing that I don't need to keep up the pace with the races and travel that I have been doing. I went back to the trails this morning where my running journey began and it felt oh so GOOD. It was simple, it was quiet, the only sound were birds chirping and my footsteps on leaves. It was beautiful and it nourished my soul, something I haven't felt in all the marathons over the years. It's where I want to return.
photo courtesy of Ilovetorun.com
I am learning to let go of so many things that have been consuming my time and thoughts. It's not just races. It's freeing to start shedding the weight of commitments and obligations I've been carrying, but it's also scary. I'm learning to say no to requests and the things that are not essential in my life. I worry that people will not like me as much if I am not available, but then I realize that I do not like myself very much when I am sacrificing my life energy towards people or things that don't value it.
This is my slowing down time. I refuse to race to the next thing, place, relationship. I want to relish being with the friends and family that I love most and make my happy place- mentally and physically- be about what nourishes me and puts me in a place where I can nurture those that I love.
This is life simplified.