Thursday, July 31, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
A huge thanks to my running group, Debbie, Nazir, Manny, David, Dinu, John, Dianah, Rod, and Jacques for their generous gift and gathering yesterday evening at Stellas. The Merlot looks stunning and the gift certificate to my favourite store, although way too rich, will be used with much appreciation. I truly don’t know what I did to deserve such kindness If you only knew how much my knees were knocking on the days leading up to the marathon or how little I actually know about running. I am the one indebted to you; I am the recipient of your friendship and your wisdom. As Nazir wrote “we met as strangers and leave as friends”. Thank you all.
Ran a 16 miler today. I’m off to the lake this weekend so I snuck in a long run to avoid the huge guilt trip on Sunday. It was on the warm side, but I found lots of shade and the breeze was cooling. I ran out of water at about mile 9 and couldn’t find a place to refill for a couple of miles and became a touch dehydrated. No serious consequences, just a little unpleasant for a bit. A huge bowl of fresh fruit, a tall glass of high-end juice, and a granola bar fixed me up fine. I must be getting good at estimating distance because my driveway was precisely mile 16. Running solo again provides me lots of opportunity to get lost in thought.
Speaking of which, I gave some more thought to why I run… reason #2, the euphoric affect. It doesn’t happen often, certainly not every run, not even every other run. It happens at most once or twice a month, usually when I'm running solo. No amount of trying will coax it along, it come naturally or not at all. It creeps up on me and I’ve only recently learned to read the telltale symptoms that it’s about to happen. I become aware of my form and my posture. I think of the puppet string that Stanton talks about.. you know, run like there's an imaginary puppet string running out of the top of your head. I push my chest out and run tall. My legs, my arms, my hips, my entire body becomes synchronized and efficient like a machine. There is no wasted energy; my entire body works together and it feels very good. My awareness of the motion becomes heightened. I focus on a spot way in the distance. My motion feels fluid; it is fluid. I begin to zone out, not completely -THAT would be crazy- and I let my body take over. I feel strong, even omnipotent like I could run forever in perfect harmony. Sometimes, not always, near the end, I’ll feel a rush starting at the base of my brain which then slowly travels down my spine. The whole episode lasts about a minute, maybe a minute-and-a-half if I’m lucky. It’s an entirely blissful feeling, one to savor. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to it, but I sure do look forward to it! Perhaps you’ve been there, or perhaps I’m crazy. Either way, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
No, I do not mix hallucinogens in my Gator-Aid! :>)
Thanks for tuning in... back next week. Cheers to the c/w crew.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I had a good run this morning, 14.5 miles at a smooth clip. The temps were moderate and the skies clear. I purposely set the Garmin to show heart rate and distance only. I wasn't at all interested in pace. I adjusted my speed to keep the heart at a consistent 150 - 155 range and it felt good and natural. During the walks the heart dropped to about 125 - 135 bpm and that felt good too! Lost in my thoughts and grooving to the tunes. Yup indeed, it was a good day to be alive.
In my mind I composed two letters, one to a former student who fell by some bad times but is recently starting to find his place in this old world. He's a good lad and has a promising future. He's at a stage where he just needs a couple of life lines to keep him afloat, but he'll be ok. The second, and far more challenging, was to a close family member who also has fallen on bad times. This person has made some choices that have profoundly impacted my life. As children we were best of friends and now we've grown apart. I finished the letter to my student and sent it off; that was the easy one. The other one, the more challenging one, will take more thought. So, where’s this going?
I’ve read many running blogs and I’ve talked to many runners. The conversation invariably turns to why we run. Aside from the obvious, to get healthy, why do we run? I suppose there’s several trillions reasons out there and they’re all respectable and intelligent. Today I didn’t set our to compose the letters, I didn’t even think of these two people until I was well into the run. Their faces simply popped into my mind… zap, there they were, front and centre. I believe this happens because when we run we clear our minds of all the clutter, all the chatter, all the garbage. We become focused on out heart, our lungs, our legs, and our minds. The daily happenings, the shopping lists, the kids, work, deadlines blur. Our minds clear and what's important rolls by like a video in slow motion (now, if I only had a rewind).
Over there on the right hand sidebar I’ve added a “Top 10 List of Why I Run”. Not one to rush, I will add one additional reason every week for 10 weeks. I need to do some serious thinking about this and serious thinking takes some time.
Why do you run?