Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ease of the Difficulty

Running has a way of invoking a strange flavor of nostalgia.
Most aspects of life can generate some moments of reminiscence, but the act of running seems to allow a contradictory, almost paradoxical set of circumstances to come to the fore.
Yesterday's run wasn't particularly long and certainly wasn't particularly fast, but it was rather warm.  Having not been training with any real rigor over the last couple months, the heat was enough to provide a non-trivial amount of difficulty, both in terms of the run itself, and in terms of simply getting off the couch and stepping out the door.  At the end of the run, however, as is typically the case, the enjoyment of such exertion had become the predominant point of note of the run.
That's not to say the physical difficulty was lessened, and that's not to say that the mental challenges associated with starting and continuing the run were in any way nullified or forgotten.
It's simply to say that somehow, after stepping up to face the challenge, an inherent comfort with that challenge seemed to manifest itself.
The extrapolations of this realization apply to much more than a mere Monday afternoon run.  Hard workouts, road races, marathons, ultras, they all present their own unique challenges and difficulties.  They all require some level of stepping up to the proverbial plate, but they also seem to allow, even provide, a certain serenity once undertaken.
Truth be told, this concept of tranquility within a challenge reaches far beyond running itself and into many aspects of life in general.  Burdens are not necessarily lessened, but once shouldered, are somehow more manageable if simply allowed to be.
How to get to the point of quietude within hardship is still something of a mystery; the miles and miles of running over days, weeks, months, and years are definitely a large factor in the running subset of this idea, and presumably, the day in and day out plugging away at any aspect of life could provide the requisite analogous experiential base upon which to build such a remarkable form of nostalgia.  Knowing, understanding, and remembering tests of yore are surely how this comes to be.
The mechanism of it all is perhaps difficult to decipher, but once achieved, how remarkable of a catharsis can be provided...
Any challenge could be easier to face.

The ease of the difficulty makes itself known.
The ramifications are truly fascinating...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Priority Propriety

There was a time when others might bestow the title of "runner" upon me, whatever that actually means, and there have been many times when it might actually have been accurate.

Such a title might be stretching the definition of the word if used to describe my running habits of late.  One or two (or no) runs per week certainly falls short of the "serious runner" standard, and hardly even qualifies for the much dreaded "hobby jogger" handle.

But that's alright...

One of the lessons that we (or at least I) have been fortunate enough to learn is that of priority propriety.  To be sure, there was definitely a time when running occupied a priority tier unbecoming an activity of such necessary frivolity.  To my former surprise, life is rearranging these tiers.

At a group run last night, it was good to see and catch up with running friends.  It was good to stretch out the legs and feel the lungs burn a little.  It was good to hear everyone's excitement about his or her next big event, goal, or aspiration.

But it was also good to remind myself where my priorities lie.  I certainly am on the lookout for the next big event for which to train, but perhaps an even more exciting aspect of looking for the next running event is that of piecing into the puzzle of the rest of life.
I'm excited about getting back into a training schedule, both as a scalded-dog racer and as an observational outdoorsman.  I'm more excited about the people, places, and things that will come into my path during the course of this training schedule, both because and in spite of it.