9:40 pm, CST, Somewhere in The Heartland of America.
A 30 minute moonlit run somehow evolves into an hour.
Beneath glowing streetlights I watch my shadow go from behind-to-in-front, behind-to-in-front as I slap down urban roads blasting through minuscule clouds of my own breath colliding with the winter air like a giant with his head in the clouds.
Pounding up cold concrete stairs, my lungs start to do their thing. They are used to this. My body temperature is rising and I drop my hoodie. And all I can think is “I am so FORTUNATE. I get to run! My legs go up and down. I CAN DO PUSHUPS! WHAT?”
Since I was 12 years old, I have spent roughly 300 days a year doing something physical, something taxing, something... satisfying. Along the way, I have been so FORTUNATE to sweat with such inspiring athletes. NFL stars, Olympians, World Record Holders, and for the last decade I have been so FORTUNATE to climb with some of the greatest athletes to ever touch rock.
But it’s not only the accomplished who inspire me. It’s the dedicated.
I have been so FORTUNATE to live in the desert, the mountains, and yes, now, in the flatlands.
I have found it’s THE FARTHEST from the mountains where you see the truly dedicated, obsessed, committed. hair-brained, and most nutcase mountain athletes. These are my people. My tribe.
The crazy ones. Those whose STOKE is not limited by proximity or access.
As I finished my run tonight, I pass by the museum where I took art classes in 4th grade. I pass by the art institute where I teach classes now. I feel so FORTUNATE.
I think of people who have either let go of the quality of life that comes from freedom of movement, or had it taken from them.
If this is you, I encourage you- whatever it takes- FIX IT. Hips or knees too jacked for running? Go to a chiropractor or physical therapist and get your joy back.
Elbows too tender to crank at the gym? Forget the gym, climb slabs. Think of Fred Beckey who was out climbing at Joshua Tree last week for his 90th birthday. A FORTUNATE man who GETS IT.
Say YES every time you get invited and leave the excuses on the couch. Say YES when you feel the impulse to grab a quick run before bedtime. SAY YES when someone asks you to join them on a fresh fitness routine.
We have such a tiny moment to be on this planet, and we are SO FORTUNATE to be able to play here. So... take care of it, and yourself, and find your FORTUNE.
Okay, now on to post run stretching...