Yesterday was one of those surprisingly perfect runs. And I will admit – I almost didn’t go.
It started with I was too tired. I then rationed that somehow the hour and a half I had was not enough for a 30 minute run. Then it started snowing, and I didn’t have a headband, but at the same time I also sort of wanted to go even more. Then I noticed it was abnormally dark for 4PM. And my headphones were missing an ear bud.
I overcame all of this, before I realized that I had forgotten my Garmin on the kitchen counter.
And I didn’t have a pocket for my phone. At which point, as sad as it sounds, I thought, “ugh, is it even worth running?”
I am ashamed.
If I couldn’t take my technology I was taking my toys home. I apparently would rather be inactive than be active without digital proof of said activity. What did they do 30 years ago before Garmin watches existed?
They laced up their shoes and they ran.
They used maps to track distance, maybe a stopwatch. An actual stopwatch. Not an app.
What did they listen to before iPods?
The sound of their feet pounding the pavement or dirt. The sound of their breath moving in and out of their lungs.
In that moment, with no music, no Garmin, and no headband; with snow and darkness falling, I actually turned around and went back inside.
And I hung my head in shame.
I stood in the hallway, debating what to do. It was cold. I had work to do. But the I thought, I am already in my dry-fit. I have lugged my bag around campus. I have run downtown many times, I knew routes approximate distances.
There were a million reasons not to go.
I found the reason to go.
For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, I just ran.
I admit, I didn’t go completely tech free. I had my iPod strapped to my arm to track time, because I’m sort of obsessive about knowing that kind of stuff. I am also obsessive about finishing on either an even or half kilometer. I ran without my Garmin or headphones. I just ran.
And in that 29 and a half minutes, I reconnected with why I run. Why I’ve walked and ran half-marathons. I reconnected with the essential reasons, the beauty of my body.
I intimately connected to my breathing. I felt my chest expanding and falling with each breath and heard the breathing from within. The world, at the moment the downtown core during rush hour, was a whisper against the sound of my breathing. It was beautiful to listen to the rhythm of my feet on the pavement. Perhaps the darkness made me even more acutely aware, but the feeling of my muscles moving in my legs was never clearer to me.
It was an amazing run, a beautiful feeling of connection, and it made me realize how disconnected I have been the last few weeks. It has been crazy, and I have given up a lot of sleep as we move into the final part of the semester. My body has tried to warn me to slow down, eventually Monday I came home and went into a mini-coma and allowed my body the rest it needed. But in that moment, listening to my body and turning my entire existence inward, I had a moment of pure clarity about my world. My inner thoughts smoothed out and all that mattered was that moment.
I’m not saying just ignore things and only live in the moment, to a degree a dash of planning is required. But in that moment I realized what use is it living entirely in the future? At some point you have to slow down and breathe. You can think about the past, and you can plan for the future, but don’t forget about the present. Don’t forget to live.
Also, this video is really cool – talks about how you’re much more open when you’re running. I know I am, apparently running has the same effect on our inhibitions as drinking according to science. Are you really open when you run? Do you even like to talk when running? Do you run with people at all or are you the lone wolf type? Let me know in the comments down below!
Also, good point: