….and so I ran.

In the spring on ’98 I quit my teaching job.
A few months later, my boyfriend and I parted ways.
In the span of 4 months, I left the profession that I imagined I would do for the rest of my life, and walked away from the man I thought I’d marry.

While there was definitely a sense of adventure to my newly found freedom, I was also heartbroken over both. To deal with that heartbreak, I decided I had two choices: develop a relationship with food, or get outside.
….and so I ran.

I began by simply running a few miles here and there, just for fun. Then I started to think about racing. A co-worker (not a runner – not even an exerciser) advised me to start with short races to see if I even liked it – “a marathon is too hard”, I was told. True to form and my loathing for being told what to do, I promptly registered for the Seattle marathon. I discovered that I was pretty good at the whole running thing. I was relatively fast, and I enjoyed being a team of one – competing against myself, pushing further, faster.

I quickly became “addicted” to the run – to exercise in general. One marathon led to more. I loved the way running felt, and what it had done for my body. I was stronger than ever and almost at my target weight. I also began to dabble in Triathalons. I did a few sprints, and several Olympic distance races. While I enjoyed competing in Tri’s, the run was my first love – and where I excelled (plus you have to carry all of that gear for a tri – just give me my shoes baby!).

One day, after returning home from a run, the guy that lived in the apartment upstairs said Hello – I answered in kind, and then got a dressing down. I don’t remember all that he said, but the gist of it was, “you say hello, but you don’t see me. You say the words, but don’t hear, or care about, the answer.”
WHOA.
And the thing was – he was right. Dead on. I had been running for exercise. But also running from my pain. Running from my truth. Running scared.

The next day, on my run, his words kept haunting me.
Surely, I see people. I pay attention.
But when I thought back over that run, I couldn’t recall a single detail, other than the mileage and my time.
I vowed to be more open. To pay attention to the world around me. To say hi, and hear the answer. It began slowly. A simple hello here and there to random strangers on the street. Some small talk at the stop light. Chatting with other runners at races, on the street, in the bar. And then then it began to seep into other areas of my life – being open to the world around me, led me to listening to my body. Which led to me listening to the thoughts that ran through my mind.
Slowly, over time, my run transformed from simply exercise to more of a spiritual practice. My moving meditation, if you will.
I used to run with music up loud. Meant to distract me from the task at hand. I still run with music, but it’s more back ground these days. Occasionally I hear it. More often I don’t.
Since I’ve been paying attention I’ve seen some amazing things….sunsets, and sunrises, wildlife, architecture, smiles – things I may not have noticed before.

The run has taught me a lot about myself and the world around me.
One of my biggest lessons for me is that teaching doesn’t have to happen inside a classroom – and most of the time, I learn more than I teach.

I just signed up for my first marathon in several years.
While the competitive part of me is nervous, another part knows these days I’m running for different reasons, and that I have many more lessons to learn.
…and so I run.

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beth cline

Health & Wellness Coach | Chi Running & Chi Walking Master Instructor | Energy Practitioner. Beth Cline works with her clients to create awareness in the body. Together we explore how you move through the day, both physically and energetically – from the breath, to the hips, to the core and feet. Beth is a Movement Coach and Reiki Practitioner. Check out these events and explore how you move today!