I’m such a chicken that I didn’t run all winter. It was too cold, it was too icy. I told myself I couldn’t afford to get hurt by slipping and falling so I stayed inside and did “yoga”. Which really means I sat on my ass all winter and told myself every day that I should do yoga. It’s strange the way we lie to ourselves. What’s the payoff there? Who are we fooling? Are we trying to impress ourselves with how fit and dedicated we are?
Now that the weather has improved I’ve started running again. Late last fall I discovered the joy of running without a timer. It’s not like I’m competing with anyone, or at least, I don’t need to. I run for my health and because exercise makes me feel good. Running is pretty cheap, simple and doesn’t take a lot of time so it fits nicely with my 2014 intention to increase the simplicity in my life.
Just this past week I discovered something better than running without a timer. I call it: The Discovery Run.
There is no point to the discovery run. I put on my runners, take my phone with me and stop when I see something interesting that I want to investigate. Sometimes I take a picture. Sometimes I get an idea and want to record it. Sometimes I just run and listen to the same rockin’ tune over and over. I run for as long as I feel like and I don’t stop to walk as much as you’d think. The short breaks give me a nice boost of energy to keep going and so I go. A good friend of mine, Teresa, lives in the Galapagos in Equador. She runs about 10K a few times per week but it’s not your usual 10K. She runs to a rocky point that looks out over the ocean, stops to do some yoga by the water, and then runs back home. Now that sounds like an amazing run. I would say that qualifies for Discovery Run status.
The strange thing about suffering is that it’s actually optional. Pain is a real thing (maybe) as are crappy circumstances (maybe). But suffering in those moments is a choice.
What the discovery run does is remove the suffering from running. There’s no pushing harder just because that’s what people often do or because that’s what some expert says will make you a better person. Many people say that forcing ourselves to endure pain when training helps us to endure pain when the poo hits the fan. I want to learn how to turn a bad experience into a joyful one rather than grind my teeth and sweat it out. I’ve done enough sweating. If I want to sweat it out it’s going to be in the eucalyptus steam room at my favourite spa.
Sprinkled among these words are images from my first discovery run. Some of them are great, some of them are okay but it doesn’t matter. I enjoyed my run and I look forward to going again soon.