Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Running in zen

When I read this Runner's World article on mediation when running, I realized just what a running purist I tend to be. There are a lot of 'trendy' running things I don't like to take with me, and headphones/ipod are pretty high up on the list. Of course we all have our moments of weakness, when a run with music to keep us going is better than no run at all. But most of the time I only want to hear my feet on the pavement, and the breath in my lungs. I don't like getting bogged down by STUFF and belts around my waist, bottles in my hand, bands around my arms, and stress in my mind make me feel heavy. When I run I want to feel light, and fast.

Take for example yesterday. Working in the fashion industry the days are a swirling blur of fittings, meetings, looking at patterns, writing comments and everyone wants everything five minutes ago. (Awesome post about what I do all day can be found HERE) Sometimes I can literally feel my head spinning as I compile a mental to do list, always adding more than I am crossing off.

But the moment I step away from my monitor and start making my way to the gym I can feel the stress tumbling away from me like falling rocks. Running is the only time when all you have to deal with is the distance in front of you. No phone calls can be returned, nor emails written. Dishes, bills, and the burdens of the household are left behind as you concentrate on each falling step. My breath may sometimes get short, and my legs may hurt but I am calm in the peace of mind that nothing else has to be done in this moment than keep putting one foot in front of the other.

It also helped that I was running in the amazingly peaceful and beautiful Valley Forge Park at sunset. The weather was a bit chilly but luckily I had a long sleeve tech tee. It was so strange to be running alone in the shadows on the same path that I usually share with a chatty group of runners early Saturday mornings. Climbing hills, rounding corners and gaining a little speed every now and again I took in the scenery keep a steady even pace. When I knew I was at the end I sped up a little, holding on until I was back in the parking lot. No matter how many times I run, that feeling of accomplishment and completion at the end is there every time.

Of course once I stopped I could feel some tightness in my outside thighs which I can only assume is my IT band. It only makes sense that the night ended with Yoga and stretching to easy my muscles.

xx Sara

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