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What I learnt whilst running

April 2, 2011

As can be seen from my last post I had a bit of a week or 10 days of hell which finally caught up with me and left me feeling very agitated, which translates as intense navel gazing and grumpiness. So, to get myself over it and determine how to best get through the next 2 weeks, I wrote a to-do list. I like lists. A lot. In fact, I feel better now. So I wrote another list too, a list of what I’ve learnt: The Highlight version, because trust me I could keep going:
The difference between clearing your mind and a clear mind: Aim to run with a clear mind, free from thoughts and observations, do not aim to run and clear your head, which is how I normally run (in an attempt to distract myself)- otherwise I find I end up stressing about things and resenting the time I’m running, as stopping me from dealing with other things. This was really apparent in the longer distance runs. Use running as an active meditation. This is helpful as then Joany Moany in your head has to shut up too. Good times.
– If you can’t concentrate hard enough to meditate: Race trees, you’ll always win. I learnt this in my last run- I picked a tree in the distance, narrowed my sweaty little eyes and I whipped it’s arse. I even went so far as to smack talk the trees and lamp posts. True Story. But it certainly kept me amused and did wonders for my time. (If you don’t know what smack talk is wiki it)
– Running teaches core life principles: Endurance: to keep going, most pain does pass. Discipline: this is where self respect lies. Breaking it down: identify which tree is the next on your hit list and if times are tough, just chose a closer tree. Determination: goals are futile exercises in self fulfillment (just like trees lining the path home), but seeing everything in life can be seen in this way, setting goals and focusing on achieveing them- ie:learning to run in 100 days, completing the London Marathon, are what will make for great memories when you are old. Everything is in the head.
– Tie your shoelaces, use a watch and blow you nose.
– My big lesson was that running a marathon may be a journey run alone but it takes a whole team of supporters to make it possible and so I learnt gratitude.

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