Walking is a therapeutic outlet for me. I have always loved long power walks. They help me move and breathe, and decompress all at the same time. It is the time when I am able to clear my mind to allow for more creative thinking and better problem-solving.
There are several different routes I can take around the neighborhood for a great 3-5 mile walk, all of which end with an uphill climb back home. If I am feeling particularly energetic or especially stuck, it is easy to add a loop or double the route and keep on going.
Over the past six months or so I have begun to take up running. Though not yet as accomplished as I would like to be, I keep chugging along on one of my neighborhood routes. Unlike walking, however, I have found that I am more aware of my surroundings when running.
No matter which route I take, along the way I pass a small cemetery. For a while I tried to avoid it, running along the outskirts while looking straight ahead. Gradually though I would allow myself to peek in, noting the flags near the many military personnel who are buried there, or the flowers that decorated headstones on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Then I noticed how beautifully maintained this little cemetery is, and would watch the groundskeepers carefully honoring its residents as I ran by.
One morning after a day of heavy rains my regular route was full of puddles and mud, so I headed onto the path that goes through the cemetery. As I ran, I silently paid respects to those who were laid to rest there, those who could no longer run.
Then it dawned on me that there was something peaceful and beautiful about passing through the cemetery in that moment. While I make no assumptions about the people who reside there or how they passed, perhaps I could honor them in some way by doing my part to stay healthy and strong.
Ever since that day I have come to look forward to the part of my run that goes though the cemetery. No longer do I walk around the outside, fearful of what I might find by looking in. Instead I run right through, paying my respects and taking in the reminder of why I need to keep going.
I will continue to run through that cemetery, trying to run faster and for longer each day. And I will continue to honor those who are no longer with us by doing my part to stay healthy and strong.
Why do you run?
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