This week I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and there’s a passage that’s deeply resonated with me. Sometimes folks wonder, “Why run?” Well, Murakami has the answer.
“Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life […]. I believe most runners would agree.”
I’ve always been a goal-oriented gal, and training for an upcoming race fits my personality perfectly. I find satisfaction in pushing the boundaries of my physical body while sharpening my mental resolve (because, let’s be honest, some runs are more a mental exercise than a physical feat), and my entire being feels more alive when I’m running regularly.
It’s been such a gift to start training this spring with my BRF Nadja (for those #anothermotherrunners out there, she’s my Best Running Friend!) 🙂 It’s been incredibly rewarding to track our progress in our training journals and see each week how we’ve gone a little farther and a little longer. Making slow, safe progress. Funnily enough, Hurakami has something to say about that too!
“Muscles are like work animals that are quick on the uptake. If you carefully increase the load, step by step, they learn to take it. As long as you explain your expectations to them by actually showing them examples of the amount of work they have to endure, your muscles will comply and gradually get stronger. It doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But as long as you take your time and do it in stages, they won’t complain – aside from the occasional long face – and they’ll very patiently and obediently grow stronger. Through repetition you input into your muscles the message that this is how much work they have to perform. Our muscles are very conscientious. As long as we observe the correct procedure, they won’t complain.”
And with every step we take together, our friendship continues to grow and blossom ❤ That’s the true gift of running. The relationship you form with yourself, and the friendships you find with others.
Recently we’ve been running at a local park, and it’s just down the road from where Hubs and I lived for almost 4 years. I’ve run this path literally hundreds of times before. And running there again is like returning to a long lost friend. Maybe one you haven’t spoken to in some time, but when you connect on the phone it’s like no time has passed. I know each and every dip and crack in the pavement, where the nearest water fountain (and more importantly) the next bathroom lay in wait, and my internal pedometer is still accurate. Need to add an extra half mile to your run, I know just where to add a loop!
Hurakami poetically explains the ease of returning to a familiar route:
“Breathing in the crisp, bracing, early-morning air, I felt once again the joy of running on familiar ground. The sounds of my footsteps, my breathing and heartbeats, all blended together in a unique polyrhythm.”
This week had to be shuffled around just a bit on my end. On Tuesday I had one of the worst migraines of my life, and even on Wednesday I was still recovering. I like to describe the day after a migraine as being acutely aware of where my head is and how quickly it’s moving. Meaning, running isn’t really an option 😉 I’m so proud of my BRF for doing the scheduled run on that day, and the following morning Millie Pup and I made up for the missed mileage on our local running path.
I’m learning how to balance my love of running with the physical nature of being a yoga teacher while also continuing my own yoga practice, and last weekend I had the perfect opportunity to bring both together. Wanderlust 108 came to Chicago and three of my close girlfriends and I participated in a “Mindful Triathlon.” It started with a 5K (which we walked and used as an excuse to have time to catch up!), included a yoga practice and wound down with a guided meditation. The meditation must have been good, because I feel asleep, ha. And considering that it was a very damp cold day outside, that’s impressive!
Here are my Ohm-ies (yoga humor alert!) at the start of the 5K. We were layered up and ready to rock!
Wishing everyone a weekend full of love ❤