Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Running post ... second this week!

Wow, today has been an incredibly mixed day, and it's been a very mixed week to boot. But let's talk about the run this morning. I got up at 5 and went out, which is the usual for weekday runs, but today I had an extra half hour because of some training at work (long story). So I decided to do a 10 miler instead of the ususal 7. This was partly because I could, and partly because I missed my run yesterday and also ate enough food for two hippopotomi so I thought I should get in some miles.

So why am I blogging about a measly 10 mile run? Well, cause it was one of those rare peak running experiences that makes me really love this stuff. I can't do it justice, I really can't, in words but I'll try to get it down.

I went out slow, and I was in the zone. For some people being in the zone means you're just flying, optimal performance, blasting out the pace. F*&k that. For me being in the zone means I'm running and not thinking about running. Not worrying about it! I'm not worried about fast or slow, hard or easy, up or down, I'm just moving. I get a hill, and I just run up it. Then I run down it. I notice it but only a little, it just registers as "I just ran up a hill." My body is doing it on its own - it adjusts speed and effort and I don't have to think "Now how am I going to take this hill?" or "How's my time on this mile?" cause I'm in the zone. It's not the fastest I can go but it is the best place to be on a run. Any run. For me, anyway.

So I'm zoning along, and I detour off my normal course to run around this little lake (I live around a lot of lakes) so I can get the 10 miles in. As I'm rounding the lake I turn a corner and the sun is right over the horizon, blasting this light across this stand of chest-high grass between me and the lake so the green grass has gold highlights and sunbeams shooting between and on top of it. There's a cool breeze in my face, and in the distance to the left in the sky I can see storm clouds rolling in but they're a good 30 minutes out, so right now it's sun. But it's not hot, and it's not still - it's moving air and incredible light and it's alive and it's gorgeous. It was really an indescribable experience, as you can tell by my utter failure to describe it. But at that moment my whole body felt tingly (I sh*t you not, it was tingly) and I felt like I could run forever and all I could think was "thank you thank you thank you" and I didn't even know who I was thankful to but just thankful for that moment, those seconds, however long they lasted. In those seconds all of the stuff that is on my mind all the time simply wasn't, and all the worries and hangups and desires and dreams that make me me just weren't, and I was just there between strides and breaths going into the wind. It was such a relief. And I knew that moment would be fleeting and had a stab of regret that I was wasting any thought during those seconds to worrying about when they would end, but I also thought "I'll get better with practice." What I meant, behind those words, was that the more I have experiences like that, the more I'll hopefully be able to just enjoy them without worrying about their end. Just live in the few seconds I've got.

I guess I spent about 4 seconds like that, then gradually I was just back in the run - still in the zone but not there, where I had been. The rest of the run was good, really good, and I spent a lot of it trying to figure out how I could describe what I had just felt. And this is what I came up with. If I wasn't running, there is no way, none, that I would have been up at that time, at that lake, in that state, seeing the sun, just at that time. I wouldn't have had that experience. And my day and my week and my self would have been poorer for it. If all running ever does is get me off my ass and outside for seconds like that, it's not a bad deal, it's really not. I don't think for a second that experiences like that are restricted to running, I'm sure we've all got many ways of having them. But for me, this is one of them. Nuff said.

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