Gratitude, Appreciation, and the Joy of a Good Run

A lot of bloggers have been writing about gratitude, appreciation or awareness lately. The benefit of a positive mantra instead of negative thoughts. Last week, I gave it a try on the day of my long bike and run. You know what? It works.

Thursday last week was a gorgeous day. We’d had rain all week, but Thursday morning was clear and sunny, and not too hot early on. I headed out to my favourite training area – Birds Hill Provincial Park. It’s a beautiful park about 38 miles from our house, and it has lots of nice running paths along with a 7 mile loop perfect for bike training (8 times around is 56 miles… perfect!).

I love training at BHP for a few reasons – there is little traffic (which I hate when I’m riding), there are a few hills, which make me stronger, but not so many that I’m too exhausted to ride a full 56 miles, there is a decent beach for swim training, and honestly, it’s beautiful. There is a ton of wildlife; you can never tell just what types of animals you will see. On a typical day, I’ll see deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, birds, and more.

I started my ride, feeling good, and worked my way through my first 3 loops no problem. The wind started to pick up for the fourth loop, but it was still OK. Loops five and six were hard – my stomach was rebelling against the sugar in the GUs and Gatorade I was consuming; I had eaten two Clif bars because I knew I needed the calories, but I hadn’t been hungry and they were sitting heavy. I refused to start bargaining though – I tried to keep my thougths positive, reminding myself how good the sun felt, and how awesome it was to have a Thursday where I had nothing more important to do than ride my bike!

I managed to finish the 56 miles fairly strong, although the last loop was frustrating because the wind had really picked up in one spot, but it was OK. I got back to the truck to lock up my bike before I attempted my longest run since the WPS half on May 6 – at least 10 miles or two hours, whichever was longer.

It took me a little longer than I wanted to get going, but once I got stared I felt good, my legs were feeling much better than I thought they would, and while I was hoping for 5 miles an hour, I was actually making better time than that. I decided to run some paths I had never run before, and took a few pictures on my iPhone, simply because it was so beautiful!

For the whole two hour run, I decided that I would enjoy every step. The day was perfect, warm and sunny, the park was beautiful, and I was priviledged to be able to run there that day. The positive affirmations really seemed to help – even as I got more tired, I was able to appreciate the scenery around me. Instead of getting mad at myself for needing to walk, I choose to celebrate the time it took because I could see more of the wildlife. It was honestly one of the best runs I’ve had in a very long time. No, I didn’t experience the elusive “runner’s high”, but the sheer enjoyment I got out of the day was somewhat of a miracle. And so I am grateful, because lots and lots of people don’t have the opportunity or ability to have a day like I had last Thursday. It was amazing.

So today, I’m headed back there to knock out another long training set. I can’t wait. 🙂

Goals: Monday didn’t go quite as planned. I did finish typing and editing two blog posts. I just couldn’t get up at 5:15 to get to the gym to swim. Working 10 hours days just leaves me wiped. 🙁 So no workout. Mystery shop approval process? No. Blog comments? Yes.

Today’s goals:

1. Long bike
2. Long run
3. Cook decent dinner
4. Type/Edit 2 blog posts

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6 Responses to Gratitude, Appreciation, and the Joy of a Good Run

  1. Carina says:

    That’s awesome. The pic with all the big trees — is that little road just for bikes and peds, or is it open to vehicles too? Either way, looks stunning! Glad you were able to appreciate it — I run on city streets and it’s very blah compared to that kind of beautiful scenery. And very hot!

    • Kris says:

      That path is just for bikes and pedestrians, no motorized traffic allowed. It’s really the prettiest part of the whole path, although for an almost 4 mile loop, the whole thing is gorgeous.

  2. Maren says:

    What a great and positive post! Being outside running/biking/hiking/whatever is really liberating and it always makes me feel in awe of what nature can look like 🙂

    • Kris says:

      I know! The pictures you post on our blog always take my breath away. I’m just happy to have discovered such a gem in my own back yard. 🙂

  3. Caitlin says:

    Wow, how inspiring!! What an awesome day, and how awesome that your body is fit enough to do all that!

    • Kris says:

      That’s exactly what I’m grateful for – that I can do these things. 🙂 So many people can’t.

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