The steep, view-providing hills of Pender Harbour, B.C. provided me with a path for my Christmas run last year. I remember that morning fondly. My early rising before anyone else in the house was awake; the quiet ocean spread flat in front of me as I looked through the panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows; the anticipation of the day to come spent with loved ones; my lungs ready to take a breath of the fresh, yet salty West Coast air. It was a run, and it was a day to remember.
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As the holiday nears its arrival, I find myself in calm anticipation of this year’s Christmas Day run. It’s becoming a tradition for me, as I can’t imagine not fitting in some memory-filled miles on this magical day, that seems to momentarily suspend time to celebrate with family.
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It may seem little counter-intuitive to the spirit of the holiday to be out venturing on my own, but to the contrary. These Christmas morning runs are about living in the very emotion that fills the season: they’re about experiencing joy. Waking up before the sun, I don’t miss any time with my family as they sleep. While they snooze, I find silent moments out on the trails, roads, and paths that I cherish throughout the day and hold with me into the new year.
As each stride carries through to the next, I’m filled with a spirit of gratitude, and find myself in awe of the life I’m so fortunate to live. These moments alone on the trails are a time to reflect on the past year, and look forward to the one ahead. It’s also a time to let go of any residual racing thoughts and revel in the warmth and in the grace of the Christmas spirit.
Though I’m now far from the west coast of British Columbia, this year’s Christmas morning run will be a special one, as it will be my first in Omaha, NE. Since making the transition down here with my partner, Candace, and our dog, Skylar, in June, it has been a wonderful experience marked by fun times with our four nephews and surrounding family. Christmas Day will be no exception, as another family gathering produces another batch of meaningful memories, made even more special in celebration of Christmas Day together.
On this day I will think of my family in Vancouver, and I will smile in thought of last year’s Christmas spent together and of the years we will spend together still. Just as my feet took to the damp west coast roads last year, I look forward to sinking my feet into another early-morning Christmas run. This year though, it will likely be the tender crunching of fresh fallen snow under foot, much to my delight.