This post was written on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at Airlie House, Warrenton, Virginia.
Today is proof that running is not about running.
After leaving three friends who were embarking on a 5-mile run, I jogged down the hill to meet another friend for a more civilized early morning 3-mile walk/run. No friend. Oh well, do I walk or do I run? I decided to run. As I was leaving the main house at Airlie in the rear view, I realized that for a few weeks now, I’ve been struggling with hills – both up and down – and punishing my knees as a result. As I was mounting the hill immediately leaving the property I started to think about this. A hill is just a hill, right . . . every hill has an up and a down slope so what’s the big deal? If you run down, you have to run up and vice versa. All pretty obvious stuff.
Well the more I started to “think” about hills, the more I ran and the more I ran the more thoughts came to me about this dilemma. As the Airlie house came into view after having run up and down hills for 3 miles, it all came to me. Running is really not about running . . . it’s a pretty decent metaphor for a lot of life. Not an original thought, but a good one for me to remember. For example, running down hill makes me feel alive, vibrant, ready to attack challenges vigorously so I run joyfully and quickly down them . . . running uphill makes me feel cranky, irritated, life is burdensome so I plod up them and sometimes I stop. The bottom line is they are just upslopes and downslopes and that’s all.
Meanwhile, there is the sun starting to crawl above the trees to my left. There are the swans on the pond calling to me as I pad on by. Oh my, I startled a doe as I ran past the abandoned landscaping truck rusted out by the side of the road. Is that a rabbit that is crossing the path in front of me? I wonder if I’ll catch up to that walker ahead of me . . . I’ve finished this run and I feel like I’ve barely started.
All of this insight and I didn’t have to pay a cent and I got the exercise I wanted. I think I’ll keep running . . . with thanks to Haruki Murakami for getting me started on “thinking” about running. http://www.amazon.com/What-Talk-About-When-Running/dp/0307269191