On Saturday, I headed out for my morning run. A paved running trails lays behind my house bordering a nature preserve making motivation innate on such beautiful mornings. Rows of porches line the pathway and the aroma of coffee permeates as individuals rejuvenate and watch the sun blaze up from the horizon. A casual nod or hello is standard as runners and bikers are commonplace on the trail, but most individuals aren’t distracted from the peacefulness that is easily breathed in with the morning light.
As I ran, the first neighbor I encountered started clapping as I passed. He must have known the temptation I endured to sleep in even longer that day than I did. His small acknowledgement encouraged me none the less further down the pathway. A quarter of a mile later, another individual cheered me on with “looking good” comments. This salutation admittingly made me run just a little bit stronger as I past. A handful of houses down, an octogenarian stood exuberantly offering to spray me down with a hose. I giggled and waved him off assertively with my hands. Did I look that bad or was he the nicest man to ever water fight?
It took me a microsecond when the next passerby retorted that I was “almost there” that made me realize I must be on a running course. Sure enough with one glance behind me, numbered bibs dotted the pathway sporadically. The pressure suddenly mounted to run with more vigor than before.
Shortly, I came upon a sign that read mile 26, Park City Marathon
. I certainly hope I was looking good at mile 1.
The closer I came to completion of the course the more exclamation of joyous hoorays I heard and I knew such triumph should be saved for the true competitors and I quickly wondered off course before the finish line.After I finished my much shorter run, I returned to the trail behind my house. I watched the many competitors pass and observed how their eyes lit with the slightest acknowledgement of their feat. Some looked strong while others seemed to be longing for another moment in time. I imagined the old man right around the corner and how his unique gift must bring the must needed relief and gratitude as faces were cooled and distracted in these last final steps of the competition. My experience running the course made me ponder about the journey we call life and the comparison between the two. Didn’t you know this was coming?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we received the encouraging word throughout our day, despite each of our journeys being different? How much stronger would we be if we knew onlookers were routing for us to succeed? On days, like mile 19, when we hit the wall and feel as if we cannot give another ounce of energy to our tasks, to only have someone give us a cup of water or exclaim with enthusiasm that we ourselves lacked, that we can indeed do it!
These words of encouragement are needed more often throughout our lives to help us retain and regain our strength when needed. Whether it be from family, friends or even the complete stranger rejoicing and acknowledging our accomplishments. The world would be a much easier race place. Running a marathon without support would be even more grueling but yet our lives are far longer than just the 26 miles I am referring to and much more encompassed with hurdles and obstacles along the way. How often do we feel that we just can’t go another step?
I am committed to cheer and rejoice with others, especially those I may not know of their current route along the course. You never know when a smile, a kind word or even a hose down can help another through a moment of doubt or troubled time. Who do you know who needs just an extra bit of encouragement to continue on the path? What do you know about the people in your life and what they are currently dealing with? Who will you come in contact with today that needs that kind word? Who can you cheer on today?
……. all because of a Saturday morning run, and the fresh air that freed and inspired my mind for good.