Friday, March 9, 2012
Tuning back in
I haven’t been a ‘mindful’ runner recently. As opposed to running for self-discovery, exploration and competition, my usual driving forces, my running has become a form of escapism. The effect of this is that my mind-frame around my running has shifted and not necessarily for the better.
I’ve been putting a lot of energy into my work, or, more accurately, my work has been taking more energy and, as a consequence, I’ve been using running as an outlet. I’ve also been missing my wife, who I haven’t seen for the past 6 weeks since she was down South at a training camp for her upcoming World Cup/Olympic Qualification races. Because of this, I’ve been pouring my frustrations, agitations, loneliness and focus into my physical outlet, much like an addict would abuse a substance and like that addict’s poison of choice, while the feeling may be good in the moment, ultimately, it breaks you down.
I found myself resenting my runs a few times last week. Part of this stems from the fact that I’m tired from putting in a lot of miles the past two months, while probably not resting enough due to work commitments and part of it stems from the emotional reasons of why I was running.
I was thinking about this morning, as I thrashed my way along muddy trails, rain lashing across my face, my stomach aching for breakfast and my legs a bit stiff due to the early hour. I wasn’t enjoying it all that much and I was definitely working against my body and stride. I was trying to drown out my thoughts with my iPod, as I listened to a political podcast, when the battery died. Initially, this just pissed me off even more, so I thrashed a bit harder. When I finally pulled the buds out of my ears and heard my heavy breathing, the rhythmic tapping of my stride on the soft dirt and could feel the odd cold soaking of my foot as I sloshed into a puddle, I suddenly realized that I was tuning back into myself. Rather than striving, I eased into a much more natural rhythm, my breathing calmed, my shoulders, which had hunched their way up around my ears, slowly relaxed, I got a bit taller, my stride opened up and I found my runner’s calm for the first time in weeks.