I love October. A lot.
In fact, October is my favorite month of the year. How can someone NOT love the slow slip into the colors of fall, the crunchy leaves underfoot, the chilly rains, the crisp air, the homemade apple & pumpkin butters, the warm-cinnamony candles, the cool nights spent snuggled-up by the chimnea, the long hikes and camp-outs with loved ones, the unlimited creativity of costume making, the haunted walking tours of my hometown, and the family traditions that grow bigger and better every year? I’m not quite sure, either, Lovelies. Seems pretty impossible not to have some sort of love for a month so grand.
However, aside from all of the wonderful gems of the fall season, October holds some pretty strong motivational power over me as well. You see, October is when the weather begins to significantly cool here in PA, and with cooler weather, my outdoor running really comes back into focus after a summer spent slogging away on the awful dreadmill. I have a love/hate relationship with our treadmill–as in I love it because it allows me to run through the misery that so many people worship as summer, but I hate the whole hamster-in-a-wheel-running-to-nowhere aspect. October breaks that cycle for me and allows me to once again enjoy the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other in the magnificent environment I call home. The bevy of trails near my house come alive with busy squirrels; fallen leaves crunch underfoot; the sunshine is warm, but the air is cool; and with the abundant and diverse deciduous tree-life, the colors make every trail run feel like I’m running through a painted masterpiece. Not a bad way to usher-in a new half marathon goal of a sub 2:30 finish at November 4th’s D & L Heritage Half Marathon! (Which, if you are a fall runner lover, I HIGHLY recommend).
Amazing scenery for all 13.1 miles!
Not only am I motivated to get my sneakers moving in the great outdoors,
but I’m also motivated to get my family moving out there, too!
My #1 girl and I kicked-off October a couple days early by running the Celtic Classic 5K in Bethlehem. She’s a real live wire, so we took off at break-neck speed (she’s eight, mind you) before we settled into a comfy 12:30 pace. We were doing great until we accidentally missed the turn-around for 5k runners and followed a few 10k runners for an extra half-mile before we turned and made our way back to the finish line. According to my phone’s running app, we did 4.2 miles in 50:49. I think my girl might have some more races in her future!
We’re also adventurers by nature. Fall hasn’t been fully experienced by our family unless there have been a few fall hikes. With our proximity to Hawk Mountain, The Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock, The Delaware Water Gap, The Appalachian Trail, Hickory Run State Park, Jacobsburg State Park, and South Mountain, being an active family is easy. But, more importantly, being an active family not only keeps us healthy, it keeps us close. Some of our fondest memories have been made on the various trails surrounding our home. I sometimes think that our kids will one day tell their own children that they spent more time wandering around the woods with us than they did at home!
(I’ve spared my family the embarrassment of all the more “candid” in-the-woods photos. Though we love to laugh at them, they are best saved for the time when Chris and I will get to show them to first girlfriends and boyfriends, much to the horror of our children.)
The last item on my list of reasons why October motivates me, is the most important. October motivates me to resist stagnation–in all things: work, education, parenting, romance, marriage, health, fitness, life in general. How does it do that, you wonder? Well, Chris and I will celebrate eleven years of marriage this month, and every October we strive to do one new thing together. It isn’t something we really discussed starting, rather it is an organic tradition that has grown with us as we have grown in marriage. (We weren’t very good at being married at first, Lovelies. But, no worries, after lots of practice, we’re terrific at it now). Much like a new coat of paint freshens up a room, a new experience lets us take a break from the craziness of work, parenting, schedules, etc. and see each other with fresh eyes. And, I am happy to say that this year, as we enjoy a picnic and private vow renewal with our children at Hickory Run followed by an adults’ only evening at a local amusement park’s Halloween Haunt Night, we will be the healthiest we have ever been together (and we’ve been best friends since 1994) thanks to our shared Paleo journey.