I’ve always enjoyed going out for a run. I admit it has never been with startling frequency or consistency but nevertheless I enjoy it. Since having been busy with the art and other projects and the added frustration of having an op on my knee last year I have long had the desire to go running again but never seemed to find the reasons to actually to it. Yesterday, all that was history as I embarked on what was, for me, a turning point.
I’ll skip the boring and innuendo-filled details about Lycra and go to the bit worth talking about. It took a while to find a rhythm but I found one that fitted into motion of my stomach flapping up and down. I can see that 7 months without martial arts and even longer without running has severely hampered my cardiovascular performance. I guess this was a big reason why I needed to go do some exercise, I’m sick and tired of feeling like a frump all the time. We all need to start somewhere don’t we? My instructor always used to tell me that the hardest part of doing anything worthwhile is starting it in the first place. How right he was.
I was getting along fine, I had a good selection of tunes pumping through the iPod and the sun was radiant and warm. My heart began to pump but not as wildly as I have felt it at rest ironically. It almost felt like it was saying thank-you for giving it something to do other than stress. Such a strange feeling but a good one. I ran through a park on my way into the town centre and picked up on the energies of people as I passed by – mothers and fathers out with the kids, other runners, old and young getting on with their lives – and recall a wave of happiness envelope me like I was being wrapped in a blanket of well-being. Stripped of the chattels of materialism and success I eased into a tremendous sense of gratitude.
I looked down at my legs and then at my arms, and then felt the sweat dripping down my face and the air I was breathing and remember feeling grateful that I could do this at all. I had legs that worked, arms that moved and the complexity and uniqueness of me was as uplifting a moment as I have ever had. I wasn’t just living, I was alive. Big difference.
I am lucky to have experienced some truly incredible things in the 8 years I have studied and practiced at my school for martial arts – feelings, connections and emotions I never knew existed. The intensity of these were amplified as I made my way through the park onto Cheltenham’s famous Promenade. Here’s where the ability to offer an explanation stops, sorry. What I felt as I stood, almost motionless, in the middle of the bustling melee of people, is something even a gobby word-monger like me finds awkward to quantify.
I broke down. Unable to cope with all the emotion of it all. Freedom, thankfulness, connection, gratitude and relief, and all because I put my running shoes back on for the first time in over 12 months. I may have only done three miles or so (with a little break in the middle) but it felt like nothing. I’m glad I had my wrap around sunglasses on – if only to stop others from joining my very private moment. Today, however, my legs tell a different story, and a painful one too. Can’t complain though, they will heal.
There’s something so insular and intensely personal about running – it’s a chance to shake off the pressures of life, a reason to get back to something fundamental, simplistic and very very beautiful – time for yourself. For me it’s not about how far you go or the time you do it in – it’s about doing it. That’s all. It’s about doing something before it”s too late. Before you die.
If life is a collection of moments all strung together then this one is getting pegged on the line right where I can see it.
Thanks for stopping by.