Missing the Experience

Reverb 10, Day 12 Body Integration.  This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Yesterday I had a dream that it was race day – my first half-marathon, that is, coming up at the end of January.  It wasn’t one of those, “it’s test day and I haven’t been to class all semester” dreams.  I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t prepared and hadn’t trained.  In the dream I was prepared, but I was upset that I had missed the experience of training.

I’ve been following my training plan for not even three weeks now and I’ve got a long way to go, but I wouldn’t give that up, even if I could magically wake up on race day totally prepared to rock it out.

I’d been staying mostly on the treadmill because it’s easier for tempo and pace runs, but today I took my training back outside and mapped in a sweet little (not-so-little) nearby hill I’ve been meaning to take on. 

It (the run as a whole) kicked my ass.  I felt it in my feet and my lungs, which makes me feel it in my shoulders and neck and eventually, I got to breathing hard enough and I started to feel nauseous.  And I definitely heard it in my head.  My mind was telling me I couldn’t do it and that I was bored and that I should pace myself and that I deserved a break.  But my legs said keep going and so I did and in the end, I was pleased (and surprised) with my pace and I felt great.

Yes, I HAVE had runs where everything works together.  Where my breathing is easy, my motion flows and feels great to every single muscle and my mind is happily along for the ride.  Those days, I’m integrated, but I can’t think of any one specific example. 

When I tell people I run and that I’m getting into races, they often ask if I ran in high school.  Absolutely not.  Becoming a runner was a choice I made just a few years ago, post-high school and post-college.  Running was a choice then and it’s a choice now, every day. 

On my run today, I reminded myself of my word for 2011 – capable, but capable in the face of challenge, when things aren’t comfortable.  (Nothing wrong with getting a head start.)  Not only am I a runner, I’m an athlete and athletes push themselves.  I told myself it wasn’t supposed to be easy or comfortable and that I was going to leave it all out there (minus any puke, I kept that to myself). 

That’s what I’ll choose to do every day for the sake of improvement, regardless of whether my mind and body are working together or not.  The experience of training – which will every now and then get me to those moments of running glory, when I think about the breeze blowing instead of my tight knee – is what it’s about anyway.

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