Monday, December 21, 2015

Ode to Joy

This the time of year when we're told we should be feeling joyful. And in spite of all the stress I feel with my never ending to-do list, there will be joy on Christmas Eve when we sit down to dinner. Ok, maybe not so much joy as a sense of relief that everything has once again fallen into place.


Nonetheless, it's a good time to reflect. What brings you joy?

Running brings me joy. Other things bring me joy too, but running tops my list. I write about this a lot. Something so simple, but so challenging, with running, the rewards are endless. That last half marathon I ran, with no expectations? The joy I felt crossing the finish line after running an amazing race could only be matched by the joy I felt finishing the Chicago marathon strong with my revised goals this past October. But there have been plenty of runs that weren't joyful as well. I tend not to reflect too much on them. There are days when a run feels more like a chore, just one more thing to do. It's all part of the journey.

Last weekend, I went for 5 miler. I knew that I should skip this run and continue my quest to cross items off my Christmas to-do list. But it was a beautiful morning and I hated to pass it up. I decided to run at the preserve with the limestone path since I don't get to run there much during the winter. I drove to the park where football legend Walter Payton used to do his hill work. In fact, the hill is named for him. I had no expectations for this run. I looped around the preserve enjoying the serenity and beauty, and headed back to the hill. My legs felt light. My PF was quiet. Then I started up that hill, and looked at my watch. 9:05 min/mile pace. Ok then. I pushed forward. My breath got heavier. Some people walking down the hill path looked at each other and smiled as I passed them by. I kept on chugging. When I crested the hill, I paused my Garmin and stopped to catch my breath. I couldn't stop smiling. This was the first time I ran up the hill without stopping. I took this selfie as I jumped for joy. And smiled some more as I saw how high I jumped!


Joy. Pure, unbridled joy. 

Very few things in life make us feel like this. It isn't always the big events that bring us joy. Sometimes it is the smallest of things that make our hearts swell. During this stressful, hectic time of year, it felt great to have something so simple, yet so challenging bring me such joy.

Who knew?

We should all have something in life that brings us joy. 

We need to take responsibility for our joy. If we sit back and wait for it, joy won't come to us.


Joy comes to us when we least expect it. 

There have been many events have brought me joy this year. Some running, some not but one thing in common is that they were all unexpected.

-That work holiday party I didn't want to go to. We started dancing and couldn't stop. So fun.
-My oldest son coming to meet me at this year's Chicago marathon. The best part of the whole day.
-My youngest son being named "man of the match" at his second rugby game. 
-My sister running with me in Seattle. 
-My dad getting up and walking with me 4 hours after having back surgery.
-Running my speedwork with 7:40min/mile splits at the retention pond during marathon training. I didn't know I had that in me.
-Lifting ridiculously heavy weights with Becky and seeing that work translate to some speedy splits. 
-My tough CrossFit coach telling me how far I've come, how proud she is of me.
-Kayaking down the Fox River with my high school friends. 
-My huge PR at Get Lucky 21k in March, a race I signed up for at the last minute when my planned trip to Florida was cancelled.
-Being awarded preceptor of the year for mentoring nurse practitioner students.
-Multiple PRs and AG awards this year. 

These are the things I won't forget this year. Expect the unexpected. Savor the joy. 

How about you? What brings you joy?

I'm linking up with DebRuns for WednesdayWord. Today's word is Joy.










60 comments :

  1. What I love about Joy and moments of joy is that they can be little or large and there is no cap on the number of times you can feel it per year. You just have to be open to it!

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    1. It's so fun when it comes unexpectedly!

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  2. I totally agree that it's usually the little things that bring me the most joy! Enjoy your holiday!

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  3. Unexpected joy is the best kind! Love that picture of you jumping. Wishing you lots of joy in 2106.

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  4. That's a serious jump for joy -- and after running up a hill too! Running brings me joy. And laughing at my dog.

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    1. Funny what a little adrenaline will do! :)

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  5. Despite the amount of time I've spent complaining on how hard he makes me life the last few months, yes, Chester (and all the animals) bring me joy. Especially as he's laying on his bed looking like a little angel as I type this.

    And yes, I may not catch air like you -- I don't think I've ever literally jumped for joy -- but running always puts me in a better mood.

    Music, food, good friends, my husband (sometimes, kind of like Chester), clothes, sunshine, the sound of the ocean . ..

    We really do need to be reminded of the things that make us smile!

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    1. With the high expectations so many of us have for the holidays, it's nice to reflect on what really makes us smile!

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  6. Being fit and healthy brings me joy. The time I take for me to workout and run brings me joy.

    Isn't it amazing how the little and. Big things can bring such joy.

    Awesome job on that hill!! Awesome jump!

    Merry Christmas-enjoy the moments!

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    1. I agree...being healthy and fit brings me joy! I never thought I'd be doing these things at this level in my 50s.

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  7. oh I love this. I try so hard to find joy everyday in the little things but there are definitely some bigger things that have brought me joy this year. What a perfect way to head into the holiday season!

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    1. It's really the little things that mean the most to me!

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  8. Running brings me joy...time with friends and family....my yoga family of a few people I regularly see at class who have embraced and taken me in....my kids...my husband.... I bought one of those momentum leather wraps this year, and for the little sayings I chose "find joy in the journey" and "live every day with intention"... I'll continue those goals into 2016.

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    1. So much good has come out of running, hasn't it?

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  9. wish I could jump that high!

    Crossing the finish line always brings me joy as well as the intangibles - rainbows, sunshine, sound of the ocean...

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  10. Beautiful thoughts :)
    I love that feeling when you just bust it out! It is a good rush. I pictured myself nailing that big hill during the last half marathon I ran, but I ended up walking...it was steep. I have thought about going back next year already, just to get up that hill. lol
    A clean house would bring me some joy and I don't have one right now lol

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    1. Oh, wrapped presents would bring me some joy but I guess I'm on my own with that one...

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  11. You had an amazing year! And lots to be joyful about and very proud of.

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    1. It was fun! Plus I got to know so many other runners!

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  12. Joy tends to sneak up on us. It's little surprises that make them so special :)

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  13. Posts like this make me so happy. :) My kitties bring me joy- their unconditional love. So does laughing with Paul and spending time with my family.

    I love your running top!!

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    1. That's my running Christmas sweater! I only get to wear it a couple of times a year...

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  14. Seeing my teenagers become young adults brings me joy. Living in an appartment I love, in a town I love brings me joy. Having a job where I can travel brings me joy. Being able to run, pain free brings me joy. That my husband has been cancer free for 5 years brings me joy. I have a lot to be thankful for.

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    1. You really do have a lot! I didn't know that about your husband. That's huge!

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  15. You are amazing! It is those little victories to be so proud of and hold close to your heart! Merry Christmas!

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    1. You have to be thankful for the little things...

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  16. You have had some great joyful times this year and I'm so glad to have seen a part of them! Love the jumping for joy picture of you, it's right up there with the picture of your last half! :) I hope you have a very Merry Christmas Wendy!

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    1. What a great way to end the year!

      Merry Christmas, my friend!

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  17. I love that you can run up Walter Payton's hill!!!! OMG that is one of the coolest things I've ever read. Seriously. I'll have to do it (with you of course) the next time I have the pleasure of being in Chicago!
    Have a wonderful JOYFUL holiday Wendy :-)

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    1. Wouldn't that be fun? Although you'd probably be chilling and recovered by the time I got to the top! LOL!!!

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  18. Great post. Being with my friends and family is hands down my happy place.

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    1. I agree. But I do cherish my alone time on the road!

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  19. Love this attitude! I usually find joy in my workouts once I get into them too.

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  20. A "thank you Mom" from one of my teens for something as simple and routine as cooking supper makes my heart sing. I love your jumping picture! Merry Christmas, Wendy.

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    1. Isn't it nice when they acknowledge us for our efforts? Oh those cookies won me a few mom points..

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  21. I love this! We need to make joy happen! We can't just sit around and wait for it to happen! P.S. I need to learn some selfie skills from you, mine do not bring me Joy- LOL!

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    1. Those pictures are a work in progress! That has been fun too!

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  22. I'm one of those dorks that loves Christmas music. The always bring me joy!

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    1. I used to love Christmas music! I like the funkier stuff...

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  23. Wow, first of all AMAZING selfie - that was one awesome jump! My daughter told me the other day that it doesn't matter if Santa doesn't bring her any presents as long as our family is together for Christmas which totally filled me with JOY.

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  24. Running brings me joy. Not on every run, but the fact that they joy miles outweigh the awful miles gets me out there every time.

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  25. That jump is awesome and just epitomizes who you are - love seeing your joy for life!

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Just keep smiling, right?

      Merry Christmas, Shelley!

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  26. I love your list!

    Joy comes in so many shapes and rooms. My family bring me joy, especially my little guy. The pugs bring my joy. Running, my friends, travel, the little things. The list is long, but that's ok :)

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    1. That's one list I don't mind being lengthy!

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  27. The picture of you jumping for joy is so inspiring!!! I love this post and I wish you tons of joy in 2016!!
    Merry Christmas Wendy!!!

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    1. I wish the best for you in 2016! It's going to be fun watching you run!

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  28. I so love this post@@ Definitely finding the joy this holiday season! Merry Christmas!

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    1. I'm sure you are--that baby will be here soon! Merry christmas!

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  29. Congrats on all the PRs and AG this year!!

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  30. You're correct, we can find joy when we least expect it, and you mention so many joyous occasions you've experienced this past year.

    I hope your Christmas was wonderful! Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Almost always it's the little things that bring us the most joy!

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