Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

I realized last weekend that running really gives me peace. For some people running is a chore. God I hope it’s not like that for you. And if it is, please, please, please change your training. Even after a hard run, you should still end with a smile on your face and a feeling that you did something good for your body.

For me, running gives me a  chance to quiet the mind and just listen.

My Crazy Brain

If you were inside my brain you would find that it’s pretty LOUD. Like most people today, there’s a thousand things going on up there. Things like home, family, work, friends, run clubs, grocery lists, laundry, coaching, blog post and favorite songs… You name it and it’s happening in my brain.

Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

There have been many conversations when the Hubs will tell me, “You started that conversation in your brain again.” He thinks he’s so funny… Anyway, I do take pride in being able to multi-task like a champ! Because honestly, that’s how stuff gets done!

But sometimes life can make you stop and lose the ability to cope well. We saw that happen last week. You see, we lost Duane’s Dad after months of health issues. Dad went to Heaven peacefully in his sleep after his last grandchild came to visit him that day.Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

The Void is Real

The void is real for everyone. There are moments that you just sit wondering what happened? The confusion and disbelief that we will no longer see Dad is almost unbelievable.

The Hubs is hanging in there. Every day we work through this with family support, keeping busy and running.  At first even I didn’t feel like running. But when Duane asked, “Aren’t we running?” last Sunday, I knew that we both needed to just get outside.

Time for a Run

I set my goal for 5 miles and the Hubs was 3 miles. He was going to run/walk it and I was going to see how far my untrained legs were going to take me. We haven’t been running regularly since our last half marathon in Vermont so the idea of pushing it seemed silly this weekend. So we both headed out the door and realized for the first time that it was nice outside. 60 degrees and a beautiful blue sky.Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

With music in one ear, I headed down our trail loaded with tons of other runners probably getting ready for the Chicago Marathon.Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

Where the Weird Stuff Started Happening

As I entered our park, 2 gorgeous deer ran with me to the entrance of our trail. They actually ran with me for about 50 meters. We see deer all the time and they usually shoot into the woods as soon as they see us. It was really odd that they ran next to me for such a long time before scampering into the tall weeds.

Another thing I noticed was my breathing. It wasn’t labored at all. I was keeping my pace easy at about a 10 minute mile. Usually I have to start focusing on my breathing by the end of the first mile but I didn’t have to on this run. I was just breathing normally. Almost as if I wasn’t even running.

I figured it was just the nice weather and my body was simply enjoying it. So my brain started thinking about my giant to-do list for the upcoming week.  And that’s when it happened.

A mile down the trail something hit me! Literally and it made me yell out. I have no idea what it was. A branch, a leaf? I didn’t see it when it hit me or afterwards! I giggled when I realized there was nothing there.  It was almost like someone was trying to get my attention. That’s when I realized Dad was with me.

It felt like Dad was running right next to me. My running, put me in such a zone that I was actually talking to him in my head. It was the most peaceful run I’ve had in weeks. I never stopped during the entire five miles and I never felt my legs. Yup, it wasn’t until I got home that I realized my legs weren’t tired at all. 

In my head, Dad and I enjoyed the trail together. He wasn’t a runner but he loved the outdoors.Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

The rhythm of this run was as smooth as silk. Eerily too smooth.  I promised Dad I would take care of the Hubs and keep him happy, healthy and running! Peace was happening on my trail Sunday morning.

I don’t know if  you believe in a life beyond planet Earth. Maybe you think I’m crazy for talking on the trails. That’s ok… because running gave me the peace my mind needed to get through a very hard week.

And this run was really different in so many unexplainable ways. Anyway, whatever you chose to believe I wish you all the peace and joy in running.

Take care Dad until we dance again….

Finding Clarity and Peace with Running


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4 Responses to Finding Clarity and Peace with Running

  1. Renee Bogacz says:

    Such a nice post! Outside of training for this marathon, running is a great calling force in my mind a well. I can remember after my grandfather’s suicide, I would go out and run all the emotion out. Running helped me deal with what happened. I’m looking forward to the days again when running isn’t something I HAVE to do but rather something that helps me physically and emotionally.

  2. Terri Tatroe says:

    Such a sweet writing, Mary Jo. You brought tears to my eyes and my voice as I tried reading it to Brian. I really miss my Dad and we know it’s only a matter of time before his 90 year old Dad passes. We treasure every moment.

  3. Julia Pucel says:

    Hugs Mary Jo. I do believe in life after earth and you are not crazy talking in your head. Running has helped me through the death of my brother and sister this summer. On my final 20 runin Fox Valley at mile 19 there were Irish bagpipes playing and I knew my brother was there with me and my niece.

  4. Christine Randall says:

    Ok, you totally made me cry again Jo Jo. Gonna miss Mr. M. too. xoxo

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