I hate running. Especially while I’m running. I always have. I hate everything about it, except when it’s over, and then I love it. But, shortly after, I love to hate it again. I’ve been running for about 20 something years, with a few year long breaks where I tried other workouts that I still like way better than running, like… anything.
But, I keep running, because it represents sorely needed solitude. It is the only time I am left to myself, to my thoughts, to the sound of my breath as, annoyed, it wheezes through my aging respiratory system. I need that solitude with a desperation that my lifestyle belies. I need it to recalibrate what’s important, to literally exhale the fabricated woes and upsets that distract me from doing my best, and being at my best. Maybe it is because there is so very little oxygen going to my brain, leaving no option but to shake free the unimportant.
Running, I dispatch my cherished mental sentinel in search of what is important: a friend’s recent doctor visit I want to follow up on… the upcoming anniversary of a neighbor’s divorce… a former colleague’s father who recently moved into a nursing home… my husband’s words of frustration that I reacted to, but neglected to ask about the pain behind them… the love note I’ll write my daughter about her improved grade in science… the apology I’ll wholeheartedly offer my colleague for letting her down, but then trying to cover my own butt… the creative idea I’ve been searching for in sporadic, forced interludes…
Without the mechanism to shake loose the irrelevant and make space for the important, I can get caught- get stuck in the volume of it. My friend, Carol, introduced me to running some 20 years back and said these unforgettable words, “I love running! Sometimes I get started and I feel like I can run forever!!”
I have never felt this way.
But, I do feel like I can live better, and love better, and work better, and be more focused and clear about where I can best invest my life energy.
What is your “running,” your mechanism for solitude, for recalibrating your “self”?