sole to soul 3: one year and counting…

Posted: October 21, 2008 in myphilosophy, running
Tags: , ,

August was my run birthday month. I’ve yet to lay claim to it. There is a rule in my family that says you cannot claim anything unless you’ve reasoned out and announced 1. Why you need it, or more importantly, 2. What you’ve learned from it. Which is why although I am already in my 30s I can only lay claim to the wisdom of a 6 year old.

  • Running towards something is often a lot easier and more relaxing than running away from something (or SOMEONE!)

This is the reason why I will never run with the bulls in Pamplona in spite of  a relative’s dare. She is someone who shares my crazy genes. I’m not going to tell you it’s my mother because well, that would be true.  I’d have to say it’s one of the few  dares I’ve actually turned down. Of course when she said it it was more in the context of “Why don’t you just go run in Pamplona? They would definitely appreciate your horns better there!”

  • Be brave but be not stupid…

No need to overthink a run but, at least, think.

There are guys who simply put on their running shoes and can go out and run all night. I am definitely not one of those guys. I respect the road and plan my long runs. I need to have my run gear ready the night before because my capacity to organize anything is seriously diminished in the early mornings.  Preparing the night before also allows for that smooth transition from the dark and cold quiet comfort of my bedroom to the dark and hot and humid and noisy street below.

I also work out what I plan to eat the day before and on the morning of the run. I used to survive on a scoop of Cherry Garcia ice cream before a run (It’s milk with fruit and sugar! Of course It’s healthy!) With the longer distances, I need to plan things a little better. And now it’s test run time for the marathon. I tend to love surprises but I certainly don’t want too many on that day.

I also never had much respect nor patience for creams and sunblocks.  I do now. Especially since I’ve found the outline of my mizuno shorts sun-tattoed on my thighs once too often! The sun can be really harsh. And it can be a killer!

  • What is in-front of me is my problem. Who or what is behind me (as long as it is not a chunk of metal bent on running me over) is someone else’s.

Sometimes you bring your best self to a run and everything turns out well. And sometimes you bring your best self to a run and still Anarch rules!  Every run is different. No matter how familiar the route or how often you’ve run the distance. Sometimes, things simply will not go according to plan. When these things happen, I acknowledge it and I simply let go AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I leave all my misgivings at the curb. Regret is a waste of good energy. And it can mess up a run real bad, real quick.

  • Running long distances for me is more than mind over matter. It is mind over dark matter.

Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. It is visible and known. Dark matter is something else altogether. Most astronomers believe it is there. They suspect it holds the universe together. But it can’t be seen and it can’t be measured except by its reflection on known objects.

42.2KM is still not real to me in my head. I know what 32KM feels like but 33KM, 35KM, 40KM? It’s still not real. But I am getting there. But I also know that the farthest distance I will  run while training is 35KM. Anything beyond that will be dark matter on the day of the marathon. I know it’s there. I just need to believe I can finish it and go the entire distance.

You simply need to have faith. Beyond what you know, is the unknown. If your mind can bridge that gap, then you are well on your way to your finish line.  It’s really all up to you. But first, believe! And then crawl, if you so desire.

  • You do not just face your fears; you need to name your demons.

One of the rules of magic require that you know the true name of your enemy. Running has reminded me of that. (Yes, I’ve been reading way too much sci-fi and fantasy!)  I need to name my demons because only then will I have power over them. Only them am I able to put my head back into the race, learn to pace myself better, enjoy the journey and let the finish line take care of itself.

Hills are one of my demons. Not running up hills. I’m gotten pretty good at that. It’s running downhill. I have to rely less on sheer willpower and strength. I know all about pushing and pulling. But I have an issue with letting go and allowing the forces in this universe to take over.  Running downhill requires letting go. Gravity is actually helping you out. Momentum is there to keep you going. But you need to use these forces wisely. You let go too much and you are on your way to a rough tumble. You hold back too much and you cause yourself problems. If you land too hard because you are exerting way too much control then it becomes a painful experience all around. I’ve messed up my hips and knees big time this way. I needed to understand that not everything is achievable through power. Sometimes, it takes finesse. Sometimes, it takes grace. Almost always, it will require patience.

  • Smile and the guard at the gate will let you through…most of the time

Some people like the hustle and bustle of the city streets. It’s not for me. I seek out the quiet when I run. And in a city with no parks, the closest thing I have are the cemeteries and the gated subdivisions. Unfortunately, getting access to these areas can be a bit difficult.

I find that more than anything else, a smile is a good facilitator. Of course, knowing someone who actually lives in that village also helps! Knowing someone who is dead and buried at the cemetery can help too but best to bring some flowers along so you look far more convincing.

  • The best routes are always the ones shared with friends.

No doubt about it.

Well there you go. This is the third and final installment. Now I’m finally ready to claim my year… 😉

Sole to Soul 1 and 2 are here and here.


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