Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wonder and Joy, Right on into the Wall

Sunday Lunch

{Post-run Sunday lunch}

Week of February 3, 2013:

Monday: DIY yoga (~20 minutes)

Tuesday: Bike commute to work 

Wednesday: Short evening run (23.5 minutes)

Thursday: Bike commute to work

Friday: Short evening run (26.5 minutes)

Saturday: Bike ride for groceries

Total minutes run this week: 150 (sexy saxophone!)

Week of February 10, 2013:

Sunday: Very long run!  110 minutes.  Whew.

I run for many reasons.  I run for the physical challenge, to clear my head, to hear the rhythm of my sneakers on pavement.  I run to shake off stress or to rev up for the day.  I run because I can.  I run to get a little lost or to find myself.  I run for the sheer joy of it.

Outside on my long run today, I found myself thinking about wonder and joy.  In our control-freaky culture, I think we give some lip service to wonder and joy, but we don’t go far enough in acknowledging that it’s when we let go of control that we invite wonder and joy into our lives.  A long run is, to my mind, the perfect vehicle for transcending the desire to control in order to find more joy.  I can get a little lost on a long run, which I think is fun.  I can let my thoughts wander, which is nice for a space cadet like me.  But most of all, I think we find joy at the end of the long run, when we kinda feel like crap physically (tired, sore, in need of food and water ASAP) but our minds have been cleansed and cleared by the physical exertion.  I love that feeling, as physical comfort gives way to a transcendent joy.

I totally hit the wall today when I had about 30 minutes left in my long run.  My arms and legs started to feel a bit noodly (to use Kate’s description) at the halfway point, but I kept going.  At 30 minutes, oh man, the wall started coming down on me.  I took a bit of a walk break just to take a break from some of the soreness that was building in my legs, then I took off again to finish my run.  I finished pretty strong (I think?!?) and was so happy to be done running.

The thing that most of us need to remember is that life is a set of yins and yangs.  There is no joy without sorrow, no wonder without the mundane.  There is no feeling of “I did it!” without those moments of “Oh my god, I can’t do this.”  That’s what running is to me: a kaleidoscope of opposites, shifting in and out of my consciousness.  But with running, unlike some of my other pursuits, I feel the kaleidoscope more vividly, maybe because running is an endurance sport and so much of the challenge is mental.  Running makes me feel alive, and that’s why I keep coming back to it.

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