Have I told you that I love to run? Have I also mentioned that despite this love, and how great running makes me feel, I struggle to make time for it – especially in the dark, cold of winter?
This conflict I have between wanting to run and making it a priority in my day, has been sorely apparent in my recent training. Literally. My ankles and muscles are a little tender from the long runs I’ve been going on to prepare for what’s to come this Saturday. It came up way more quickly than I expected and I haven’t trained as much as I had hoped to.
So what am I running? A 25K (~16 miles) trail run – The Buffalo Run on Antelope Island. And, yes, it is as wild as it sounds. Antelope Island is a state park located in the Great Salt Lake, 7 miles from the shore of the nearest town. There are pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, american bison (between 500 and 700 at any one time!), porcupine, badger, coyote, bobcat, and millions of waterfowl.
This is my favorite kind of run. I don’t enjoy running in the city or between houses nearly as much – though I do often. I prefer to run in small events (fewer people) and with amazing natural surroundings and wildlife…
…like the Moab Other Half that follows the Green River between tall red rock, where a lone eagle might make an appearance;
…or the Little Grand Canyon Half in the San Rafael Swell – my favorite camping area – where all you see is red rock, blue sky, and green and yellow plants;
…and my most recent favorite, the Wahsatch Steeplechase, that climbs a few thousand feet through spring wildflowers and melting snow before returning us to the city below.
Movement and nature are my muses
Each time I return from an event like these, I feel refreshed, inspired, and accomplished. And, I also find that I have a sense of urgent creativity – not just during or after these events, but in training for them and spending time in nature and in motion – whether it’s hiking with my dogs, working in the garden, or going camping with my husband and friends.
They are all activities that get me away from my work and into a space where my mood is lifted and ideas have a chance to show up. The fact is, they allow me to clear my head of what I think I should be focusing on, as well as engage my senses and body. I am present, so to speak. And when this happens, my creative juices start flowing.
On a sunny run one day last fall, for example, I ended up developing a fully-formed plan for an idea that I had barely considered. I came back from the run and spent the next half hour with my markers mapping the idea out on a white board in my office. Since then, I have been able to add to it and create something that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And the really cool part? It felt inspired. Not rote or forced in any way.
Healthy and creative – not just productive. What an awesome and powerful combination!
How do you invite health and creativity into your busy day? What do you do to motivate yourself – or do you love it so much it is the centerpiece of your day?