Thursday, October 3, 2013

A good runner has no fixed pace and is not intent on finishing

One of my favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching is “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” I'm hoping to translate that to running, as in a good runner has no fixed pace and is not intent on finishing. I want to run for the pure enjoyment of it and not be defined by speed or distance. But I have a hard time relinquishing my love of results. I like working hard. I also like seeing that hard work pay off. I want to be better today than I was yesterday. At everything. Even if it is only infinitesimally better, I want to be continually improving. Which is unrealistic. And exhausting.

I don't want to lose that drive to find my limits and push past them. But I have a tendency to make myself crazy over my perceived, and often times invented, inadequacies. So I need to let go of all that junk.

I have a hard time with detachment because it can veer towards apathy. And I don't want to be apathetic. I want to be enthusiastic and excited and loving the crap out of everything. But to do so without expectation or attachment to any particular outcome.

Sometimes it seems a little impossible. I'm confusing myself even thinking about it. Though I think all my ankle problems last year may have helped in a way (Oh god I can't even believe I just said that. Dear Universe: this is in no way an invitation for any more injuries. I would however be delighted to accept more miles and more peanut M&Ms. Or pretzel M&Ms. I'm not picky.) This year I've been happy just to run without pain. Or with pain, but the kind that's only slightly uncomfortable, not the kind that's like you-need-to-stop-now-things-are-seriously-FUBAR-up-in-here.

I also think trail running is helping because I don't care that I'm slow, I just focus on staying upright. And trying to keep up with the group so I don't get lost in the woods.

I don't know if the answer is long slow distance or only doing races "for fun." Or maybe there is no answer, it's just something I will figure out along the run.

Lyric of the moment: "After all it was a great big world, with lots of places to run to..." Word.

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