Saturday was absolutely beautiful.
First, my long-anticipated 5K. (My second ever. My first was in Philly, back in 2002 or so. At the time, I hadn’t been exercising all that regularly, and certainly wasn’t running, but wanted to give it a go and “just see how I do.” I got passed by pretty much everyone, including a 75-year-old speed walker. Whomp whomp whomp.)
This race was different. I’d been running pretty regularly, and I knew I could finish it. I was as prepared as I could be, and certainly more ready than I’d ever been. I never expected to WIN, of course, but…gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if I really pushed and did the 5K in under thirty minutes?
I admit I started to worry that I’d be disappointed if I didn’t achieve that goal. But I managed to (somewhat) shrug it off and reminded myself that just showing up meant I’d already won. And it was perfectly OK to just enjoy the day and do the best I could.
I gave myself permission to just…be.
I ran the entire time. I kept running. At first, several people passed me. That’s OK, Kate. You’re here to finish, not to win. But, as the race went on, I actually passed some people. Then a few more. And then a whole bunch more as I crossed the finish line, still running.
My time? 28:20. BOOYAH. Who rocks? THIS GIRL.
I was completely energized by my “win” (don’t laugh – remember, I barely passed gym class in high school and was asked to leave a P.E. class in college) and it painted my entire day in colors of victory and can-do.
I got home and I was an efficiency MACHINE! RAWRRRR! In a whirlwind, I did a bunch of chores – and then mowed the lawn. (Our mower is not self-propelled, so wrapping up the yard takes about an hour and 15 and is not an insignificant feat.) I weeded, and picked up all the sticks that the long winter had tossed about the grass, cutting them down to size and making a clean, neat pile at the end of the driveway.
(Side note: Our city requires that you not put yard trash in a landfill – YAY EARTH! – you have to lay it out separately for the garbage company. They come and collect it when they get your trash – for an additional fee, of course – and compost it. The odd thing, though – trash pickup is on Mondays, and on Sunday, I noticed that my neat pile of sticks was GONE. Either the 2nd Little Pig was building nearby, or we have some VERY industrious – and large – birds in the ‘hood. They’re welcome to my yard trash, I suppose, but I sure as heck hope none of them ends up flying over my car. I’ve heard that people will take ANYTHING if it’s free. But sticks?!? People are weird.)
Next, I whipped up a delicious brunch of poached eggs, ham, and toast, and when we polished it off, we were on our way to the local arboretum. The state university runs this, and it’s your go-to when you want to see a huge variety of flowers and plants, traditional and experimental. They have this landscaped into a series of hills, complete with both paved and wooded trails.
There’s something about hiking through the woods that gives me a sense of complete peace. Being outdoors, surrounded by living things. Breathing. Being alive.
And the flowers. Oh, the flowers. Everything in bloom, reaching out from the cold, damp ground to the dazzling brightness and warmth of the sun. I, too, am reaching for the light and the warmth. I’m feverishly working to escape the dark, cold places. The places where I cower and hide; the places where I hug my knees to my chest to close out the blackness.
But when you’re surrounded by this – by light and beauty and LIFE – you want to drink it all in. You want to swim in the river of color and brightness; you want to absorb the vibrancy and unite with the radiant energy.
You breathe without having to remind yourself. Your shoulders relax; the furrow in your brow fades.
You are so very thankful to be right here, right now.
You have permission to just…be.
And, in this moment, you experience joy.
Saturday was overflowing with contented peace. How I wish I could just bottle its rich, heady fragrance to scent those dark, oppressive days, spraying a bit into the corners when I need to be reminded to breathe and to seek out the sun.