Over the course of my career since college, I have constantly focused too much on my professional responsibilities and it has caused me to neglect my personal needs. Life is a balancing act, and it ain’t easy to get it right when you are a young, driven professional. I have found that the biggest difference in my well being comes from being physically active, and for me, it’s all about variety. A gym membership is never enough, but it can be expensive to pay for other forms of fitness like yoga, pilates or boxing.
I woke up Saturday morning – after a wild night doing research for my upcoming trip to France and falling asleep on my laptop – craving exercise. I managed to get up at an early hour, had the whole day ahead of me, and wanted to get my sweat on. We had unusually summer-like weather this weekend [80 degrees in February, beat that], so I decided to go for a run in the sun.
I have a nice trail right down the hill from my house that begins at a small botanical garden that is nestled right across the street from the infamous Cardiff Kook. The path proceeds to veer off along the train tracks that run parallel to the Pacific Coast Highway, going up and down with the rolling cliffs that line the San Diego coast. The narrow path runs through thick ice plant and knee-high sun bleached grass for about a mile, before the path rejoins the road for the remainder of the drive to Encinitas.
Because the run is so up and down and on coarse sand, I usually end up taking a slower pace so I can enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the surrounding landscape. In the spring time, yellow, white and purple flowers are scattered throughout the foliage, painting a watercolor backdrop for what would normally be a much more grueling workout. It is in quiet moments where it is just my thoughts and nature, in a deep running trance, that I can relax and begin to let my mind wander into creative thoughts and reflect on my dreams.
The only break I get from my daydreams are the thunderous sounds of the train over my headphones, and the dizzying smell of pollen awakening my senses [and allergies unfortunately]. Even though I am only a stone’s throw away from the busy roads on either side of me, the view of the ocean over the breathtaking trail hedges transports me to another place. And just when I have gotten my rhythm going, I reach the incline that leads back to the road that carries me back to reality and my everyday responsibilities. But now, with this sense of peace and relaxation, I take my time walking up the hill to my house where I know a slew of emails and house chores await me. At least I have this safe haven to escape to when I start to forget about the simple pleasures in life…