I’ve been running for more than twenty years, though not consistently. Sometime in recent years, I decided that every mile a gift. Lately, running has been more difficult for me, and I’ve thought more deeply about the phrase, my running mantra: “Every mile is a gift.”
Last Saturday, while running the Labor Day 30K in Milford, Michigan, I carried this phrase through every mile. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make the distance. I’ve had some challenging calf and shin pain. Starting a run is especially difficult right now and when I start running, I feel as if I can’t quite get my stride. I don’t really ease into a run until a few miles in. My pace is slower. I can’t imagine how I once declared that running a marathon could be easy. To combat my recent difficulty, I’ve tried compression socks, Epsom salt baths, and massage. I’m not noticing a huge improvement from any of these comfort measures, but I’m sticking with the running for now, even through the pain.
So last Saturday, I drove more than 70 miles from home to run — I’d registered, paid my entrance fee, and didn’t want to quit before I started. I felt prepared to quit if needed, to prevent additional injury. I didn’t relish the thought of dropping out of the race without finishing it, but I reserved stopping as a possibility.
Had I realized the course included many hills along dirt and gravel roads, I may have quit before I started. Instead, I carried my favorite phrase, turning it over in my mind. Every mile is a gift. Every. Mile. Is. A. Gift.
I believe every mile is a gift, even the painful miles. Every mile. The fast ones. The ones when I feel strong. The ones that end with kick. The dragging miles. The uphill miles. The ones I barely struggle through. The road miles. The trail miles. The treadmill miles. The 19th one during a 19 mile run. The first. The last. The rainy. The windy. The muddy. The one I run with friends. The one I run alone. Every mile, when I run it, is a gift.
Every mile. As a runner, I count miles, but this is really any unit of measure. Every day. Every moment. Every conversation. Every breath. Every week. Every month. Every year. Every minute. All of it, it’s all a gift. As a runner, every mile I run is a gift.
A gift. Every mile is a gift. It’s something to anticipate. To savor. To notice. To explore. To discover. To appreciate. To unwrap. To remember. To cherish. To embrace. To share.
Every mile is a gift.
I am guessing you finished the race…but maybe that’s not even the point. But rather you cherished every moment along the way. As I struggle with my own challenges when running I will keep this in mind.
Sometimes I struggle just to keep going for one kilometer, while others I get close to five kilometers. If I fail or succeed, I always know I’ll be able to try again tomorrow. And I do.
For me it is not just every mile, it is literally every breath. Every breath, every moment in this life, is a gift.
Wonderful message Becky! Congratulations on finishing AND choosing to treasure every mile.
As I ran my 20-miler yesterday in preparation for the New York City Marathon, I was thinking the same thing: Every Mile Is A Gift. I’ve been focused on distance running for three years now, and I’ve enjoyed every minute and every mile. Sometimes the miles are solo, but many are with my fantastic friends in my training group. I wouldn’t have met these great people had I not been out there banging out the miles with them: talking, laughing, getting caught up on how their kids/jobs/golf scores, etc. are doing. Not every mile is fun, or pain free, but every mile serves a purpose, and each is a gift. I’m not sure how many miles I’ll be able to do before injury or before life gets in the way, so I’m going to enjoy each one. Thanks for writing your blog – it’s a fantastic message.
Thanks, Tom! I agree! I am headed out for my marathon, inspired by my comment.
I too once ran. It’s a very distant memory. I recently learned that a childhood friend, a golfer, was parallelized in a car wreck and many years ago lost her ability to run, golf, …. receive that gift.
NOW I question WHY we ever ran. and if we are still supposed to be running.
I remember my first March of Dimes. I was young. and so proud to be part of something so huge. TO WALK…. for those who could not. TO DRAW ATTENTION.
my high school also did a “walk”. We came to school without electricity, without gasoline, without any “modern” power options. A huge significant event that made NBC, ABC, CBS (the only stations then) and Newsweek magazine.
1. We were a town that existed only because of energy. Millions had been made with the discovery of gasoline powered engines and that we had all the gasoline. At one time we supported 5 national oil corporations.
2. THEN came the energy crises of 1970’s, 80’s , …. and so on.
I don’t run. I spend huge amounts of time in bed…. in pain.
I spend huge chunks of time with handicapped and poverty and people who haven’t the time or energy to “run”. they just hope to survive each day and I have cause to wonder…. aside from Forrest Gump, who ever had a reason to run?
I once ran across my college campus (because it was known I was the fastest and the best and could deliver the message and reply more quickly)
My son (and his wife, and a few nieces) run marathons. I always wanted to . Life prevented it. I now wonder WHY did I want to and how sad and pathetic that we have become a world that worships the body, wastes time that could be better spent…. all to conquer a road, a mountain, some “goal” that in the afterlife will be meaningless and have been a waste.
1. you have a typo in your first paragraph. Maybe the first sentence.
2. You are an inspired writer and I need some direction and inspiration because I have a huge story to tell and can’t pull it together.
is life a gift?
I sit with suicide survivors… people who wake up and are mad to get one more breath. Who wanted to END LIFE.
why do they despair?
Why don’t they enjoy the gift?
Lets talk <3