|Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion|
As I have discussed my experience with a few different people, some religious, a psychiatrist (don't get excited she's my client) and a fellow "run-aholic" they all responded in the same way. They described my experience as a "Zen" moment. I never would have thought of it as a Zen moment however after further analyzing of the moment, I would have to agree fully. Zen is the state of mind where the focus is so great the mind and body are in one accord. It was completely empowering and the last miles seemed earsier than the previous. The feeling was completely addictive and far more than the runner's high which had been gone for several miles. I have to be careful though because the quest for Zen may take while to get to and I do have to engage in other activities besides running like life.
Nik and I were out with his mom on Saturday night. Our waiter, who was fabulous, began talking to us about his little daughter , Nora who had been born about eleven weeks prior. I watched his face beam as he told us about her. I leaned over to Nik and whispered that the guy talked about his daughter the way I talk about running especially and now swimming and cycling. It dawned on me that I love exercise as much as I love my children, very interesting observation.
Last year as I was just beginning my running journey toward becoming an endurance runner, the eight mile mark nearly killed me. I fondly remember running my first six on the road. That afternoon I slept for I think about five hours. I laugh at myself a lot now in hindsight of last years disastrous training season. I have learned so much, and how to and how not to do train. The main thing I have learned is nutrition and how my body responds to training much better with proper sustaining. I remember hitting the fifteen mile mark last winter and being disoriented all day after, hurting intensely and sleeping and propping my legs up because they ached so badly. Well I survived, making me stronger, smarter and even more determined to complete my journey.
The past three Saturday runs have been filled with anticipation, preparation and even a little trepidation. The reason was ampted up miles. The mileage was fourteen, sixteen and eighteen. Each run began with a conversation between, me, the road, my body and ultimately my mind. I told the road that today your ass is mine. I will conquer you. My body knows that it is strong, fueled and can handle the mileage, I just reaffirm that with that realization I always exhale heavily. My mind, I think, it has to be in accord with my body and even stronger to push through because the mind always wants to quit first, probably due mostly to boredom. Which leads to the next cataloging of thoughts that occur, accomplishments, how far I have come in the past year. Personal records I have set, and people I have inspired always make me smile. Those positive thoughts though run out at about mile fourteen for me then I am left to do what occurred on Saturday, meditate and just keep running. If I keep running I don't really know what is hurting, it's really hard to start back running after walking. As I have mentioned before, the fastest way home is to keep running, that comment from the Ironman athlete is going to be the death of me, but it is on automatic repeat in my mind.
Another thing that I have been trying to incorporate in my runs is finishing up fast, not coasting in but just all out at the end. Saturday I was able to do just that, I threw up after, but I did it.
There's a point after I've had a good run where I sit and stare as I replay the run over in my mind. I analyze and reanalyze how it felt, what I was thinking, if I need more water stops, gu's, did my shorts aggravate me, did I get any new blisters on my body from ill fitting clothes, how many hills did I do. A whole check list is in there, ingrained in my mind.