Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Visions of moving bodies and forces of nature

I've had a number of creative habits like playing music and creating art in my life. None of these ever came to me as visions where I could see finished products in my head and went about making them real. For me it's always been about thirsts that needed to be satisfied. I get a longing and I start looking for something to satisfy it. Or there's a pressure inside me that I have to let out or I'll fall apart.

That was my creative life (not much time for it now) but is also the way I live my life. At some point I figure out that what I'm doing day to day has left me with a hole I need to fill. I do some internal work and either end up with a new hobby or obsession, or end up making major life changes. I used to get it with music and I used to get it with self destructive behavior. I can't live with the longing and I'm not able suppress myself very well. Nor do I want to. 

Running is one of those thirsts. When I'm out there I feel like something is gushing into me, filling me up. With running it has to do with walking out the door and feeling like I could stick with the training program for the one hour I did today, or take a turn that would make it into a 3 or 7 hour and my body will take it. There are days where I come back at 9am after running 15 or 20 miles and I'm full of the power of that, just roaring inside my head like crashing waves. I've already run 20 miles and it's 9am, CRASH! What else can I do today? ROAR!

Somehow barefoot or minimal really adds to that. The term minimal is coming to be associated with a certain kind of shoes but for me it's more than that. It means just me. There are no springs in my heals to add to my effort. Don't get me wrong I love gear and there are days where I've got my phone on my arm, sunglasses, running hat, compression gators, etc, but I think my best days are just shorts and nothing else. Those days there's no help. It's just what I'm able to do. I think if I had a loin cloth and no neighbors that's what I'd be wearing. That's what running is, something you can do with just your body moving in space and your breath flowing. 

There are all of these organizations out there like Movnat, and Crossfit that are about a different kind of fitness that involve a body with heavy stuff to move, and trees to climb. More than that there are the ever proliferating DIY sites for people who want to simplify by fixing stuff instead of tossing it. There's Slowfood for people who want to know about where their food comes from and what it doesn't have in it. All of these things resonate with me because they're about simplicity, but they're also about the integrity of the self.

Minimalist running is about acknowledging where technology has served us wrong and going back to what worked for millions of years. It's about taking another look at what has become the accepted best practice with all of the associated dogma and testing whether starting from scratch might not be our best bet at the moment. I work in a lab and scratch is where you end up over and over until the line of inquiry you're following turns out to be a fruitful one. 

To bring it back to the personal running is just about me moving for as long as I can, figuring out I can always do more, and then doing more. I don't know where it's going. I don't have any visions although I have some plans. I never have believed in long term planning, too many things in my life have shown me how easily those plans can slip away. All I know is that right now running is the flood that fills my soul and the fuel in my tank. It helps me center myself so I can be a good dad, it helps me show my kids what determination can do and how determination can be about enjoyment, and it just feels damn good to have gotten myself in shape for a marathon in two weeks and more to follow this year.

Thanks to all of you who are reading these posts and giving me feedback. It means a lot and I love you guys.
Good running and good living!

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