If I have a natural gift it would be the gift of endurance and I love endurance activities. For the past 30 years most of my free time has been spent using my own horse power slowly hiking, running, cross country skiing or riding a bicycle, covering mile after mile, day after day. It has become my meditation a way to think, relax, breathe and be. A time I crave, when my best thoughts surface and plans are formulated . I believe that endurance activities are a powerful force in my life providing many moments of contentment..
I began running as a depressed adolescent. My dad was an athlete of sorts and I imagine he thought it might help me to get some exercise. He suggested morning runs around our block which measured about a mile. I can’t believe that I agreed to do this. But off we went several times a week and over time I developed some stamina and a sense of accomplishment and pride when I could complete the whole run. I am grateful to my dad for introducing me to running. I think of it now as he remains affected by a stroke unable to walk or take care of himself.
I didn’t run again until my early 20s. I was a cigarette smoker, thinking about changing my lifestyle. I guess I was at the right place at the right time because jogging became popular during the 70s. Running shoes went from the simple tennis shoes I wore when I ran with my dad to technical models, designed for the sport and joggers became a common sight on city streets
After a short time I quit smoking and developed a passion for running.. My running is somewhere between a jog and a shuffle. I entered races and watched my times improve. But that is not where the real joy of running came for me. It came when at age 40 I decided to run a marathon. I chose a small event in a national park, on paths instead of pavement. Training for a distance event takes time. Lots of time spent alone with your thoughts doing a repetitive exercise, enjoying the outdoors. It is this time that I grew to love.
In my 50s I switched my focus to bicycling. Especially road riding. The combination of transportation and exercise was especially interesting. My husband and I rode bicycles early on in our marriage. We toured the New England states and had a wonderful time. When we had children I stopped riding but my husband continued . With children now grown riding became a wonderful way to reconnect. Almost immediately I started commuting. Riding the 20 miles to work has added new dimension to my day. Rides on the weekend allow me to explore the beautiful roads that cross Ohio and areas beyond. .
I hope to be able to transfer some of what I have learned over all the miles I have covered to a time when I can no longer participate in endurance activities. I know I will not be able to continue them forever and I work at adjusting my goals as I age. Maybe the true enduramce activity is aging.When like my dad the endurance activity will be the activities of daily life. When the miles covered will be in my memory. They will be good memories of the weather, the road, of my life. A life filled with the gift of endurance and many, many moments of contentment.
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