Recapturing the Joy of Running Through Minimalism

How, you may ask, does minimalism correlate with running. Minimalism is difficult for me to articulate sometimes, I feel inadequate trying to quantify the results. Minimizing your life isn’t just about getting rid of crap and having less clutter. It spills over into every aspect of your life. Minimizing puts your priorities into perspective. It takes away the things that are unimportant and leaves behind what is important.

This philosophy becomes apparent in many ways other than your closet. You’ll notice a difference when you get into your car, open your email, or social media, with your cleaning supplies and junk drawers. Walking into your house feels more like home. Without the distraction of too many things, too much stuff and clutter everywhere, you can instantly determine what is important and valued in a home that’s minimal.

I’m not talking about taking off clothes to run, or running without a watch on, or starting another barefoot running craze. You’ll never hear me say that a shiny new PR isn’t important, or that I don’t want to increase my mileage. I fantasize about a 50K, I want a sub 1:45 half marathon and a sub 45 minute 10K — and I’ve been very close to both. Goals are great. Goals push us to be better. The problem with a goal is the potential to miss the journey for the destination. Sometimes, we lose the joy.

THIS is NOT what I’m encouraging when I say “running and minimalism”!

This happened to me on a team when I was over-trained, exhausted, and getting slower. I lost my joy. I was trying so hard to be more that I lost sight of what I really wanted. If you’re following along, this is similar to buying more things, keeping up with the Jones’s, thinking that the next purchase will make you happy. It’s striving constantly for more in every way to become happy instead of enjoying the journey, loving your life for the things instead of the experiences. Constantly pushing for more in running made me feel like what I had to offer — who I was — my best — wasn’t enough. I needed to be more. I had to buy new gadgets, train harder, be better. If you experience this STOP — you are enough. Who you are, where you’re at, the gadgets you own, the stuff you have. It’s enough. Stop trying to get more, be more, do more. Slow down if you must, but please, enjoy the process. M

Last weekend was my agencies annual fundraiser. Running with the Bears is a Boston Qualifying marathon (the smallest actually!), half marathon, and 10K. In a town of 1000 residents, 500 runners, their families, and their dogs inundate this beautiful little town to run in God’s country. The best race I’ve ever run is now the race I get to work (two years running it and two years working it so far) and trust me, it’s a privilege. We received a thank you email from several runners but this one summed up how I feel about time, minimalism, and running. Basically figure out what’s most important. Highlight that and eliminate the rest. From your furniture to your time to running. Sometimes we let go of something we want for something we realize we want more.

“Running with the Bears team, Last year as I was a charity runner and it was my first marathon, it was so important for me to run. I pushed through in severe knee pain but finished and immediately signed up for this year’s race. I waited all year and was so excited to come back in 2015 to experience your Amazing event. The race holds a special place in my heart because I used to work with foster children and families. The work was a huge part of my life for many years. My roots are planted in Greenville because my mother grew up in this tiny little town and she would bring me back throughout the years. She wanted to make sure that I knew where she came from, and that this place made her who she is today. My grandfather and grandmother are buried here and of course, many people have never left this little town. To some, it may not seem like much after flying from Reno, the only airport close enough to the city. But to me, the town is filled with the history of an old logging town and people who are salt of the earth and would truly give you the shirt off there backs if given the chance. I live in Mexico now. Getting to this beautiful race was not easy but 3 airports and a day later I arrived. It is and always will be one of the most beautiful places to run. Being in Mexico I trained hard running at 75,00 ft and fending off wild dogs and cobblestones to be ready for this race. I would dream about running this race for nearly a year before getting to it. I was so ready to qualify for Boston and I could feel it. But then something unexpected happened. It was pleasantly cold the morning of the race and I was ready to run hard. Until I met Frank. Another runner. But not just another runner. Frank is 62 years old and he was in the bare essentials, including his shoes. Leather sandals to be exact. I remembered him from last year and had promised my self I would run effortlessly like him someday. We found each other at the beginning and ran in tandem together. His sandals slapped the black road and became my built-in metronome. We didn’t say a word but ran the tangents of the windy road like it was going out of style. After 7 miles we split up and I pushed forward with my Boston qualifying time looming over me. I knew I could still make it if I went hard. My watch became heavy as I obsessed over the numbers. And then I ran by one of the aid stations and decided to stop. I drank water, I chatted and I gave a little one a high five. I asked myself what I was doing, why I was here in the first place. So I slowed my pace, I took in the flowers and the trees and the quiet clean air. I was reinvigorated about running. I realized I had lost my love for running because I was constantly chasing time. In life we all chase time. With our busy lives and buzzy schedules, we forget what is truly important in life. To be fully present in life; with our jobs, with our friendships, our loved ones, and especially our children. This is what Mountain circle family services do. The fundraising for this race ensures that quality relationships are built through being present with the children that they serve. I enjoyed every single minute of blowing my Boston time to the wind because I took away something so much more valuable. The gift of being in the moment and being fully aware of life. Frank finally caught up with me and we ran the last mile together in tandem. It was an honor to run with such an athlete and cross the finish line together. Instead of time, I found myself chasing happiness. Now isn’t that what running is all about? Thank you Running with The Bears team for providing such an amazing experience and for doing what you do best. Providing your love and time to the kids who need it most and for truly Inspiring us all. See you next year as a charity runner in 2016! Katie”

Put the things that are most important in your life at the forefront. Eliminate the rest. That is minimalism. Run your own race and recapture the joy of running.

Originally published at https://www.momof18.com.

Jenn is Mom of 18, Transformational Coach for Christian women, host of At A Crossroads with The Naked Podcaster, Author, Runner, Minimalist, & Healthy Lifestyle Advocate

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Jenn Taylor — Mom Of 18

Mom Of 18 Certified Birth & Bereavement Doula® Adoption & Surrogacy Doula Breastfeeding Counselor Reno, NV 15+ Years In The Foster Care Sector, Blogger, Podcast