Monday, May 18, 2009

Running ... on the outside

I had a random thought today as I was running on a treadmill.

By the way, if I stopped running this blog would have only half as many posts, but I guess you all know that.

I was running and was reminded of one of the main things I really do enjoy about running. While you are running a long way, anything more than a half hour I guess, you are of necessity detached from everything else. You cannot, as you are moving down the road, or even on the treadmill, be working on something else. You can't be solving some other problem. You are even limited on the conversations you can have. Anyone you talk to has to be running with you, and you're not going to solve any great work dilemmas, even if you're running with coworkers. Unless you bring your cell, you can't get any calls. You can't return pages. You are removed. And that, for me, is a beautiful thing. I'm the kind of person who does not stop thinking about what I have to do, what I should be doing, what I'm not doing, whatever else like that, for very long. My mind stays engaged. And it stays worried. And it eats at me, like I'm either working or I should be working. It tires me out.

But when you're running, well then ALL you should be doing is running. One foot in front of the other. That's it. And nobody can call you to tell you to do something, and you don't have your damn pager, and it's just you and the next foot in front of the other. The next lap, the next mile, the next hill. And it's one of the most peaceful things you can feel. And as you're feeling it, you're feeling it with your whole body - all of you is involved in this. Arms, legs, stomach, neck, all moving, all together, not just your head. And all of you is free, and detached, with just one foot in front of the other.

So as you know, because I whine a lot, there is a lot of stress in my life. And when I'm running, I'm outside of that stress. It is outside of me. And it's a tremendous break. Screw the fitness, and the pace, and the goals, and the races. Those are all just window dressing. Bits of color, pieces of flare (ha ha) in the overall landscape. What it's really about, when you get down to it, is running, on the outside.

No comments: