Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some people meditate — I run

My editor suggested I write about what I think about when I run. Well, that seemed like it would be easy enough, or so I thought.
As I started to run this morning all I could think about was thinking about thinking about running.
Finally, after a few minutes I settled into my usual rhythm and started to remember. I start almost every run evaluating my body. How do I feel? Do I have any pains? Am I running with good form? Am I relaxed? Or tired?
I’ve found that focusing on my form and my breathing has always helped my running efficiency. Of course, sometimes I realize I am just plain tired. That’s when I start wondering why I didn’t chose a sport with a built-in rest interval.
After I get through my initial body scan there is no telling what will pop into my head. Many times I’ll finish a run, and I can hardly remember what I had been thinking about because the time flew by. Other times, I am a happy day dreamer.
That’s when I seem to have a
silly smile on my face. I once ran past a group of cyclists at Lovers Point and greeted them with a enthusiastic “good morning.” After I passed them, I heard one say, “Now that is one happy runner.”
If I have a race coming up, my easy runs are a perfect time to reflect on my training — going over the course in my head or coming up with a race strategy. Thing is, when I do that I find myself getting excited and picking up the pace. Eager to get on with the race I guess.
It’s hard not feel inspired when running around here. I have always considered

running to be “my time” and usually refer to my Sunday long run as “going to church.”
Despite being from a family of ministers, I wouldn’t consider myself a religious person. In fourth grade, I needed a Bible for an assignment. I didn’t think we had any at home, so I got one from the school library. My mother was mortified and led me to a cabinet with more than 20 Bibles. She then made me promise to tell my teacher we had tons of Bibles.
Although I wouldn’t say I’m religious, I would say I am spiritual. For me, running seems to intensify all my emotions — happy and sad. I confess, there is hardly a running trail I have not cried on at one time or another.
Sometimes it comes out of the blue or other times I leave the house knowing I won’t make it too far without a few tears.
Whether I am worried about a family member or upset about something in my own life, running affords me to time to work through some things. Some people meditate — I run. Even when I am done competing I know I will always be out there plodding along.

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