On tunnel vision and hidden lakes

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The hidden lake.

I’m a runner.  After a several month hiatus, I ran a few miles in June of this year, and began running in earnest in July. I was serious about getting back to it. I had stopped earlier in the year due to spending an inordinate amount of time in hotels.

I’m an outdoor runner. Treadmills, while great for me as a new runner, simply irritate me now. Seriously. Staring at wall? Or talking heads? Or those red snaking lights on the console? No.

For some, running is part of a serious training regimen. They’re preparing for races and other sports. Me? I just love the endorphins. Exercising is how I get going in the morning. Many hotels are not situated near runner-friendly territory, and I’m not so dedicated to running that I’ll regularly subject myself to worn-out treadmills and the fight to find a free one.

And so here I was, in a hotel for two nights. As I unloaded my car to check-in, a quick glance confirmed there wasn’t a nice stretch of sidewalk/running path nearby. I’d brought my exercise DVDs so I was set. But I knew I wanted to run. Determined to keep my newly established momentum, I resolved to beat the morning rush and *gag* get my morning miles in on the treadmill.

I made it down to the fitness center shortly after 5:30 a.m. I found a working treadmill and got my miles done.

I was proud of myself. And why not? I had a goal and I was well on my way to reaching it. The next day, I stuck to my DVDs. Endorphins flooded my body and all was well. That is until I noticed the sunrise and took a good look out of my window.

Lo and behold, I spotted a sidewalk! Not just any sidewalk, but one alongside a lake! A picturesque, runnable path. And I had missed my opportunity to complete a beautiful outdoor run. Twice.

I couldn’t believe it. I was so focused on “sucking it up” and “sticking to the plan,” that I allowed my previous experiences with other hotels to dampen my curiosity and sense of exploration. I barely looked around before I determined I had no other options. I didn’t even inquire, even though I’d considered doing just that. All because I had convinced myself that what was  visible was all there was.

Boy, was I wrong.

That taught me something. It’s great to have a goal in mind and a serious commitment to stick to it. And it’s important to have clear focus so I can dismiss distractions and detractors. But equally important is maintaining an open mind and open heart to be able to explore options that may not be visible to the naked eye. It’s a balancing act. But I’m learning to live in the spaces between focused intention and seeking spirit.

Don’t allow your tunnel vision to block your view of the lake.

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