We’ve all heard the naysayers, asking questions and implying that we are somehow on the fringes of society, or that we are, for some reason, running from the demons in our lives. I say, we are all, every single one of us, running from something. Some of us just choose to run toward these things as we struggle to cope and deal with all that life throws our way. Did you lose your job? Lose a loved one? Lose your mind? Struggle with debt? Struggle with your relationship? Running offers a sanctuary in our own minds from the daily struggle. There’s a place you go as your feet beat out a steady rhythm, which transcends this realm of constant thought beating against your head.
How about these questions: Do you love to run? Love to watch the sunrise over the horizon, all pink like the body of a flamingo? Do you love the way the breeze cools your body and your mind as it caresses your skin while you run through the trees smelling of cedar? Do you crave the feeling of the burn of muscle and the drip of sweat down your head and back, cooling you as you steadily move along through the tall grass? Do you love the peace that comes eventually, whereby there’s no thought at all? This place that we seek is within our own minds and yet not at all. It is so abstract to the casual observer that it sounds odd to the ear, but it is there my friends, it is there.
It is there where we know that we will get out of this run exactly what we put into it. It is there where we are able to untangle the wicked webs that try to snare us into thinking that we cannot do what we came to do. Running really is a metaphor for life. You work hard and push your body through that short, yet physically tough workout and you realize with a start whatever the problem was, that you thought you had encountered, is really not that complicated after all.
You set out on a 30 mile training run, as I did yesterday in preparation for the 100 I WILL accomplish in 3 weeks and the demons awake. It’s too cold and we didn’t sleep well at all. There’s no way you can make it another 100 miles. Everyone out there at that race will be faster so why do you even bother? I took that little demon, shoved him into a tiny little box and sealed it shut. With each mile I continued to put one foot in front of the other I made that box smaller. As I reached 10 miles, the negative thoughts were silenced. This is the way of life! You just keep moving on and trying to make it through until one day you realize, you no longer hear all the negative.
People will tell you it cannot be done. People will say that you should not do it for this reason or that. They will be adamant that you are wrong and they are right. You are selfish and self centered for spending so much time training for an event you will not win or receive a financial gain for completing. Some will try to beat your down with their own personal demons, pushing them at you in an attempt to keep you small. Running shows us that we CAN do whatever we set our mind to. You want to run 13 miles? Fabulous! Get out there and practice! You want to run 26 miles? That’s great too you know what it is you need to do…..run!
Does practicing more mean that it will hurt less right away? Nope! Life just doesn’t work that way. What it means though is that you will get better at it. You will get better at shutting down the naysayers and the people who don’t want to do anything so think you shouldn’t either. This is what running long has taught me – though it’s still a work in progress. You can tell me I shouldn’t, tell me how bad it is for me and how selfish I am, but until and unless you can show me another way to find peace in my mind as well as a very healthy body….this is part of who I am. It’s not ALL I am, for I am so much more…..
Until next time my friends