Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Zen of Running

I had a conversation with a friend, recently, about running. Or more specifically, his lack of running. People often mistake me as a runner and I do my best not to correct them. In their eyes, I probably am a runner and it would be hard to explain the differences between what I do and what runners do. A big part of that problem is that I go running.

And I like it.

Which is the most challenging concept to explain to a non-runner from a semi-runner. How do I like running? What is it about running that makes you get up most days a just run?

Here's the thing about going for a run and enjoying it: It's not about the running. Or the exercise.

I think that running is a throw back to the original freedom. Before there were cars, there was running. Before there were bicycles, there was running. Running was the only real chance you had to 'run away' (think about the roots of that phrase and how we use it in today's life) from whatever it is that you need to get away. The freedom is so real you can taste it.

What I think most people miss out upon, including my non-runner friend, is the beauty of the land that is placed before you. The trees swaying in the wind. The grass landscaping my neighbors homes that gives them much pride. The squirrels going about their daily business of survival, bouncing to and fro. The birds soaring and playing in the breeze. The clouds gliding through the sky. The joy of my dog as he canters beside me without a care in the world. This is what I see when I run.

The wind blowing through the forest. The rustling of the leaves as they tumble across the field. The buzz of the insects as they practice their trade. The chirp of the crickets and the frogs as they search for their mates. The hum of the cars as they make their way on their daily business. The gurgle of the stream as it meanders towards its destination. This is what I hear when I run.

The pollen wafting through the air from the flowers readying new life. The slight woody smoke tingling the background as the people heat their homes. The fresh, humid scent of the lake as the air flows over its surface. The musk of my perspiration as I pound the pavement. The pleasant aroma of newly trimmed lawns. This is what I smell when I run.

The rumble of my muscles as they contract and relax through the movement. The warmth of the sun as I voyage across her illumination. The embrace of the wind as she wraps her arms around me. The kiss of the rain as it returns life giving water to the world. The sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that, on multiple levels, I am a better person when I am finished than I was before I started. This is what I feel when I run.

Those are the reasons I run. And will continue to do so until that privilege is taken away from me.

So, tell me, what gets you moving?

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