Another long run in the bag on Sunday. Three and a half hours by myself out on the road. Quite unimaginable really. The human body is amazing. Compare the time spent on that run with other things that you could do. You could watch two films or two football matches. It’s half of the average working day. And yet, even without music to listen to, I didn’t get bored, or negative. I thought about a lot of things, a kind of therapy. Definitely not a meditation though. I think in order to do that, I would have to focus on my feet. By definition, meditation is the art of focusing on a single (hopefully virtuous!) object or thought, so rolling countryside and lanes don’t tick the boxes. It’s a great way of getting to know yourself though, seeing where your thoughts go, and finding out what you’re capable of. I don’t talk about my running at work unless I’m asked about it mainly because most people find it difficult to understand why I would want to do it. Equally, I find it difficult to understand why they want to spend their free time in bed until lunchtime, then switching the TV on for the rest of the day. If pushed, I always reveal that I’m just happy doing it and constantly pushing my ageing body to achieve things I never dreamed of. In other words, finding out what I’m capable of.
I think a life testing yourself in any way is a virtuous life. A meditation I guess. Challenge yourself to run a marathon, walk every street in your town, spot every species of wildflower that you can, count every star – whatever it is. It will fill you up. It will help you to dream. It will give you something to talk about when other things fail. And guess what? Keep doing it! Keep reinventing challenges. You’ll discover the outdoors, yourself and your next big move.
2 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-challenges”
Great post – I have turned to running as a form of meditation after many years of heavy career stress. I never enjoyed cardio exercise at all; even hated it much of the time. I went through the motions simply so I could eat what I wanted and stay marginally healthy. After significant stress and related symptoms set it, running became more of a spiritual event for me – losing myself in the rhythm of my footsteps or as my physical fatigue set in, being able to forget my stresses of the day. There is definitely something to the process of a consuming task that you enjoy that helps us get past tougher things. Thanks for sharing your story.
I too turned to running to deal with stress in 2004. I’ve found it to be a great outlet for stress and anxiety, and the cornerstone of my state of mind. It is perfect quality time alone. Thank you too for sharing your story. It’s great to open up a dialogue with like-minded people, getting outdoors and not taking it for granted. When you’ve been down to the depths of your wellbeing, you have a different view on life to those who haven’t.
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