Monday, July 29, 2013
Twenty Five Point Five Miles on July Twenty Seventh
The weekends are a time when I normally go on longer runs, and that makes sense. On these days it's rarely the case that I need to run longer distances. It's not as though I feel like whatever running I enjoyed during the week was insufficient, but I have the opportunity to go on a relaxed run wherever I'd like without a destination in mind: an adventure. That said, those weekends do come along when I do need to run a long way for a good long while. It's these days when I don't have somewhere I need to be, or somewhere I'm trying to get to, but rather I desire to be be nowhere and to remove myself temporarily. Surrounded by millions, the need for escape is felt strongly.
With some irony, it's normally following my most restless and sleep-deprived nights that I wake up least prepared for the extended runs I need. On June 27th I woke up and needed at least a couple hours of self-removal. It doesn't take me long to get a runner's high going, but runs like these have me exercising a particular level of sharp focus in the early stages to achieve a deeper and different high. The rhythm of my contact with the Earth comes in to perfect concert with the pulses of my respiratory and circulatory systems. I make my way to waterside pathways so that I can have the least amount of potential flow interruption, but even before I get there my body is almost completely on auto-pilot. Where I am, where I'm going, and what I'm doing is nearly meaningless.
Sometimes I escape in to specific music, or in to whatever ambient noise presents itself, and sometimes in to pure abstraction. In all cases, the goal is the same: enter a meditative state and silence a restless mind. Any and all audio and visual stimuli combine to form a continuous feed of seeming randomness that blurs together and I'm no longer even moving. My surroundings are moving relative to me. In this state if I ever pass by you without giving a second glance or responding to a call-out, I apologize, but please understand that I am barely there. Ultimately it's the inherent simplicity of the state of being which is most appealing. Life is beautiful in it's complexity, but that same complexity can drown a mind that dwells on permutations of that complex equation which are theoretical or variables that are out of its control. Potentialities haunt. During the first 16 miles of my Saturday running, my incredibly frenetic and chaotic city was brought to a calming halt, and I with it.
The other nine and a half miles took place later in the evening, making up a round-trip in to Crown Heights in Brooklyn where I picked up a sweet portable sound system from a guy who was moving in two days. Thank you, craigslist and thank you, Jan. Best of luck in Jamaica.
The doldrums and sadness or despair in our lives need to be acknowledged and honored on some level. They can teach us more than we know , but they need to be distilled down to their essence before they infect the whole of the mind. Drowning or silencing those things for a period can serve as a mental reboot and a perspective shift (that's my goal, anyway). Concerns can then come in how you go about silencing them, and how often. Days like Saturday leave me feeling better, but also wondering whether my escapes are my main sustenance.
First run fuel: just some water
Second run fuel: two peaces, and apple, and a bunch of vegetarian lasagna.
Hours of sleep: four