Friday, 14 January 2011

Always learning more

Today's run came at a good time for me. I had been feeling a bit stressed and rushed the last day or two, and my mind was weighed down with god-knows-what. You know those days where you feel scattered and stressed but don't really know why? That's how I felt. I was about to skip the run and focus on work, but decided I'd better get out.

Marathon training starts next week, so I better start getting serious, right?

This run had no purpose, no focus, no structure. I wanted simply to run and not focus on running, or form, or pace - just me and the outdoors. I didn't wear the HRM. I took no music. The sun was shining, and air crisp, the pathway clear. And I ran with my body as the guide for pace and intensity. I did what kids do - I just ran for the sake of running.

I forgot how liberating it was to just run. In always trying to improve, I always pay attention to pace, intensity, heart rate, and probably more things that I can't think of right now. And all those things can make you forget just why you're doing all this in the first place. It was then that I remembered some other things - early morning bike rides through the fog, trail runs, swimming in the river at Carleton Place for the first time. The focus wasn't so hard then, and I was truly enjoying what I was doing. It was freedom - physically and mentally.

And that's what happened today. With my mind completely free to soak in whatever it wanted to, the muddled mind simply smoothed itself out. Things became clearer. My shoulders dropped to their natural, relaxed height. Problems unravelled. Questions became solvable. And suddenly, my mind was clear...with more than half my run still remaining.

The next near-20min of the run was all mine. Not a care in the world. I felt tired but relaxed, enjoying the sun's warmth through the cold, humid air. I watched the people skating on the Rideau Canal, some pulling children in sleds, some with hockey sticks, some even running on the ice. I enjoyed the smell of hot chocolate and Beavertails from the huts on the ice, and secretly wished I had money and my family with me to enjoy some of that ourselves. I took a closer look at the reconstruction of the pathway, the other users of the pathway, the cars going by. I was seeing it all new again, even though I've run that stretch hundreds of times.

And in those 40min or so, I learned a lot about myself too. Most of it came subconsciously, without any need for thinking things through. I'll keep that to myself, since it's probably only valuable to me.

So remember the next time you're running, or biking, or swimming, or whatever it is you do - take some time to remember why you do what you do, and then just do it simply.

1 comment:

JohnP said...

I love it! Running naked is a definite must once and awhile! I leave my GPS and worries at home. Just run.