In The Moment

It’s 7:20, and I’m prepared for a long run today.  I’m not totally committed to a particular number of miles, but would like to surpass last week’s 10.  I’m feeling pretty cocky after yesterday’s 6; the weather is another motivator to go long this morning.  If the forecast for the rest of this week is correct, unless I do it today, I will be out there in some mighty wetness tomorrow.  It’s going to be typical New England winter for the rest of the week.  Definitely not long run weather for me.

I begin with a false start.  I have become dependent on my Nike+iPod, so when I turn it on and the music is gurgling instead of grooving, I pull it out of my pocket and see that the battery is low.  I have to turn around, although I have not gone far, and return home.  I set the Nike+ to log my time and distance without music, then have to rummage around the house to find my regular iPod, select a playlist, and stuff it all back into my pocket before I can set out again.

I decide to make my usual loop, same as yesterday, and see how it goes.  I am making good time again today, but since I know I should be holding back if I want to run longer, I try to slow down.  It’s a gray morning.  The temperature is not too bad, hovering at about 36 degrees and I warm up quickly.  Glad to have worn only three upper layers, I remove my gloves and let my fingers breathe.  I hit the sand-covered pavement of Pebble Beach and start to worry about how far I can run today.  I’m not even listening to my music.  I begin to think ahead, to try and foresee the rest of this run.   Am I going to be tired because of yesterday’s run?  What if I can’t do the 10 again?  Is it going to start to rain?  Should I have worn a hat?  Does my ankle kind of hurt? I’m torturing myself and slowing down, when mere minutes ago I had been winning my own race.  I turn it around, putting on a full press as I approach the upward slope leading to the marshes.

Stop thinking about what might happen.  This doesn’t work.  Ever.  Instead, stay here.  Be in the moment.  Enjoy what you have and let one foot follow the other.  This is what you love!  Let it happen.  It will be whatever it is, whether you worry about it or not, so just run!

I am able to let go.  I do it.  I run.

Back on track, I easily cover the long loop of Marmion Way.  I pass my house and head downtown.  I run along Main Street, then Beach Road,  fly by Front Beach, then Back Beach.  A woman walking her dog down by the water looks up and waves to me.  I wave back, then crest the hill and turn onto Granite Street.  I loop around and down King, back by Front Beach, and turn up another hill.  I check my time, see I’m under what I had anticipated, and with a sudden blast of energy, sprint down Broadway.  I add another mile and a half before I decide to stop, and I include the giant hill on Mount Pleasant Street, the one Sue and I both despise,  just to prove to myself that I can do this at the end of a long run.  10.26 miles, averaging 8 minutes, 24 seconds per mile.  Today is the farthest and fastest ever.

I walk around the block to cool down, and wonder where that doubt and worry came from in the first quarter of my run.  One of my favorite things about running is the ease of being present.  It’s challenging for me to do in the rest of my life— I have to work at it like crazy.  Thinking behind, thinking ahead—it’s hard to stop doing that.   Sure, there are times when that’s important.  But the best moments are the moments when I’m just being— with my family and my friends, or cooking, writing, or painting.  The best stuff happens then.  Laughter.  Honesty.  Creativity without conditions or limits. The absolute letting go, my mind quiet and relaxed.  Placing myself in the moment.

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3 Comments on “In The Moment”

  1. Sharon Says:

    You go girl!! You are amazing!! Half marathon is easily within reach!

  2. Craig Says:

    You live life so very fully!
    The ability to make the most of your chosen moments must expand that fullness immensely. (I think I envy you for that.)

    I’m very proud of you. Both for your self-discoveries, and for having the strength and will to write about them all so well. Keep it up


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