I am of the nature to grow old, I cannot avoid aging.

I feel it more each day, the creaks and groans that emanate from various regions of my body. Injuries and insults I have hurled at myself linger long past the time when inflicted. The morning brings stiffness that demands conscious effort to loosen.

The realization that aging is an intrinsic part of life provokes feelings of sadness; this knowledge gives me the ability to take action, providing the foresight to know that I need to keep living and enjoying the privilege of a mobile and healthy body. I can appreciate the phases my body will go through during this journey with the understanding that each step is just as beautiful as the changing light of the sun as it makes its arc across the sky from dawn and into twilight.

Because the decay of this body is inevitable does not mean I should sit back and wring my hands in anguish. Though the aging process will continue unabated, I can be a part of deciding how it will progress. If I treat my body with kindness and care, it will respond. If I have high expectations of what it can do, it will rise to meet them, despite its protestations. As I surrender to aging I will do it not as a defeated warrior with my head bowed in shame, but as a lover engaged in a heartfelt embrace with bittersweet tears streaming down my face.

First draft originally written 3.30.14

Why I Run: Part 4

Running in standing water

This is part four of a series answering the question of Why I

Running has been humbling recently. I am one week away from the Everglades Ultras and I already feel like I've got a DNF (Did Not Finish). Last week I struggled to finish a 17 mile training run. My exhaustion brought me to tears by my perceived failure. I felt as if I had fallen so far. How could someone who completed a mountainous 100 mile run through thunder and hail struggle so much to finish doing 17 miles on flat terrain? No matter how much I might want to hang on to who I was just 8 months ago, that person is gone. The body I now inhabit is not the same as the one of last summer. Running's latest lesson for me is about impermanence.

When I signed up for The Everglades Ultras, I planned to run the 50 mile version of the race, but I’ve come to realize that just completing the 30 mile variation will be a struggle for me right now. I worked hard for six months preparing to run The Bryce 100. I was focused in my approach to training and got up to run despite the cold of winter, the snow and ice on the ground, or my own desire to just sleep in a little later. My body and mind adapted and got stronger. I changed who I was.

But nothing stays the same, no matter how much we wish that it would. In the months since Bryce, I approached my running as a casual endeavor and when I began preparing for the Everglades Ultras, I allowed a busy schedule and lack of discipline to prevent me from putting in the miles required to be fully prepared. Once again, I changed who I was.

Life is change. Nothing stays still. Everything is in motion, including the composition of our bodies and minds. Everyday the decisions we make affect who we are and how we impact the people and the world around us. Achievements don't last, but fortunately neither do failures. Each moment we have a choice, and those choices effect a change in who we are.

Impermanence can be a disturbing aspect of life, but it also creates new opportunities. We are not stuck with who we are and we can change our situation if we are not satisfied with it. Change will happen regardless of what we do or don't do so we might as well take some responsibility for what direction we move in. To be healthy, we must choose wisely what we put in our mouths and what we do with our bodies. To live a fulfilling life, we must decide how to spend the limited amount of time we are allotted. We can choose to be positive, even when our initial reactions to a situation might dictate otherwise. Each choice, each decision we make causes a change, and over time, these changes help to create who we are.

Are there changes you want to make in your life?

What choices will lead to that change?