The clock on my computer screen reads 5:00; time for the costume change. I swap my pressed pants out for a pair of running shorts and my high heeled pumps for my Nikes. I pull my hair back into a ponytail, slide my sunglasses on and I am off for a run. In just minutes I go from being office personnel to a runner. Like many Americans, this is the time of day when our stress melts away. Whether we head off to the gym to run on the treadmill or to our favorite running path, it is our chance to let all of the day’s worries fade away.
Yesterday, I chose Mission Beach for a run in the sand along the bay and over to the ocean. I was eager to run but wary of how I would feel considering it is only my second week back since my stress fracture. I popped in my headphones and turned on my iPod simply out of habit. When running alone I use music to keep me company. I took the first few strides slowly, cutting myself some slack but before I knew it I was naturally speeding up to what felt like my pre-injury pace. The sand should have slowed me down but the sight of the ocean sped me up.
I quickly realized the mistake in bringing along my iPod and turned the music off. The crashing waves and the pit pat of my shoes in the sand were music enough. After I ditched the unnecessary noise I fell into a beautiful rhythm. The movement of my body to the sound of the wind and the waves felt like a dance. I was effortlessly gliding along in a way that felt simply organic, like I was born to run. This is what I believe peace to be. Peace of mind, body and soul; all working together gracefully. Equilibrium.
On runs like these I go away to a special little invisible place. I hope I’m not losing all of you skeptics here, but I reach this unexplainable place of tranquility in my mind and body. My thoughts are clear and breathing is steady. It is one of the few times I don’t feel like a jumbled mess.
I think we all find different routes to that place of stillness and peace that clears our mind of the daily clutter. If we could translate this into our daily life, our jobs and our relationships we would have less stress and worry throughout the day. The hours would flow smoothly and we would leave our jobs feeling energized rather than exhausted. There are some very zen people out there that can find this peace anywhere and everywhere, but for people like myself, it is a work in progress.
Maybe one day I will be able to achieve this state of mind throughout my day but until then, I will wait for the clock to read 5:00 and escape to my special place.