My Morning Run
by Alexis Sclamberg
My morning run is a meditation. It’s my steamy cup of AM energy. It’s gratitude. It’s at once stillness and magical motion.
Each day the San Francisco Marina path greets me, welcoming the crunching gravel beneath my feet and the steady rhythms of my breath. It holds space for my thoughts and embraces my voice. Intention, optimism, and grace thrive here. And so does joy; toddlers splashing through puddles, leash-less dogs basking in sandy freedom, friends laughing and sharing secrets.
And when I returned to the path last year, it accepted me with open arms. Though I had left it high and dry for the East Coast and then the Southwest, I had missed it dearly. I longed for the cool bay wind to challenge me to a resistance run and dry the sweat from my cheeks. I dreamed of those ever-changing skies—the Golden Gate Bridge playing peek-a-boo behind soft fluffy clouds or hiding from me in a thick, cozy blanket of fog. I wanted to high five the ceramic hands at the base of the bridge—the ones that reach out to encourage me to turn around and run back home.
Though I grew up in Piedmont, a charming Oakland enclave most aptly described as being wrapped with a metaphorical white picket fence, I was unaware of the wonder across the bay. In fact, shameful as it is, I didn’t start exercising until I turned 25. And I didn’t transform my workouts from an exercise in cardio to a whole-heart practice until I discovered this path.
This path doesn’t just work to slim and trim (though, thankfully, it does); it shapes in ways I hadn’t expected.
After graduating from law school, I was lost. I had a fancy, shmancy law degree in one hand and a license to practice (yes, I passed!), in the other. But my heart held a different story.
My intuition told me that I belonged far, far away from the fluorescent lights of law offices and legal briefs. And so I listened—in rapture. But I couldn’t quite make out the shape of my alternate destination. In fact, I couldn’t quite identify the route, either. The world took on a fuzzy, out of focus quality. It was like walking around all day without my contacts in.
But as I berated myself with questions—what am I doing with my life? What do I want to be? How will I make money?, I ran.
As I packed on fears about my future until they nearly crushed me, I ran.
As I started to melt into puddles of confusion and frustration, I ran.
I ran, and I ran, and I ran.
I stuffed my runs full of self-help podcasts to inspire me, transform me, and turn me inside out. I repeated positive mantras, practiced mindfulness, and pursued gratitude like it was the great love of my life. By the time I had made it to the bridge and back each day, I’d have planted new seeds of hope. The path was providing my way out of the fog and into the clouds. Heavenly and beautiful ones—the kind that rest gently on the marina most days.
I developed an impressive sports bra tan, surprisingly toned calves, and a strong core; strong enough to take the reins and transform my mind’s paltry questions into heart-centered ones. I stopped asking myself what I wanted to be, but whoI wanted to be. I wondered how I want to live in this world and asked myself what really matters. And I built up the courage to leave my iPod at home to run toward the answers all by myself.
I can’t say that I’m all the way there yet, but I wake up every morning ready for my run. And my path.