Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within.
Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” goes the old adage. Or, as my 19 year old cheered tonight to his fraternity brothers, “It’s not a marathon it’s a sprint.” (Ugh.)
Sometimes you gotta move, fast; your body just needs it. Energy begets energy, as much as that is hard to believe, or may not want to believe. I’ve been in long periods where I got out of the groove of exercise. (Like all four years of college.) Focus was a little more on fun than it was on self care.
And I’ve been in some phases where I’ve been motivated, and seen and felt the rewards. Running, or anything invigorating is an incredible outlet. Increased dopamine, serotonin, burning adrenaline are all benefits, as we know, and, of course, there are the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits. Immunity too. Have you ever felt like you were coming down with something and you forced yourself to go exercise, and afterward you felt stronger?
What fascinates me is the focus it requires, the sheer will power. I’ve had a handful of times in my life where I have done a race–a triathlon, a 10k a half marathon. Each time someone has encouraged me; they’ve suggested, coached, enabled ~ in the best sense of the word.
And then there are the people who have inspired me just by being.
First, is a friend. She started really running after she lost her sister, found it to be an outlet and a way to clear her head. It is her moving meditation. Perhaps a runner’s high, but seemingly something much deeper. She set a goal a few years ago to do a half marathon in every continent. (She is well on her way.) She also happens to be the one that encouraged me to do a half marathon a few years ago and ran me through some of my training. Then, day of, she ran it with me, despite the fact that she had pneumonia!
I picture her off on the trail above the Middlefork River, deep in the remote landscape of the Frank Church Wilderness. Running miles ahead of our rafting group, fearlessly alone out there in the wild.
Then there’s Steve. I don’t know Steve’s last name but I see him most days. He is always running; plugging along. He doesn’t run very fast, in fact he runs at a pace that is just one iota above walking. A few months ago he and I were on the same road. As I rounded the corner he crossed the street and there we were, together. There was no not saying hello, though I will say I was a bit intimidated to, as we were clearly going to be together for a decent stretch and his body language did not indicate he was interested in conversation.
So here’s what I learned, in broad strokes. Steve was a competitive runner. A very good one, I suspect. He was ranked. He’s young and he had an unlikely emergency event. I believe it was an embolism and a stroke. It has affected all aspects of his life. And it’s been a couple years since it happened so he’s skeptical about the trajectory of his improvement. He runs every day, to the lake and the cemetery and home again, which is something like 5 miles. He runs slowly, head down because he falls a lot. His gaze is just ahead of him; he can’t afford to look too far forward. His feet don’t work as they use to, so he’s got to be present and focus on every step.
He keeps his eyes on the ground beneath him. This bystander used to think his attitude looked like a downer. Boy, was I wrong. He inspires me. Every day, rain or shine.
Orison Swett Marden said, “The athlete trains for his race; and the mind must be put into training if one will win life’s race.
Today, get moving! Rain or shine, sore body parts or none. You can figure out how to invigorate your life. And you will, if you do. Meditate on it; ask for the strength to motivate (“God help me with my unbelief,” can also translate to “God help me with my un-motivation!“)
If the body is old and out of shape, running is most certainly not the only moving meditation. Walk, fast enough to get a rhythm to your breathing, as that is what will get you out of your head. Or, Bike, swim, do anything that is not painful but gets your heart rate up. And as you release the clutter from your mind, and create a little space in there, you may just find yourself being a little closer to your “power Source.”
There are many ways to get there…
The I AM Meditations by Jacob Glass
This is a day of meditation and stillness for me
Even as I go about the normal world living my life.
I take my eyes off the bigger picture and focus on each
Small sacred step as a holy action infused
With love, love love.
~ ~ ~
What got Forrest going (not overthinking):