The Zen of Running

“I only run when chased”.  That used to be my response whenever the subject of running for sport ever came up in conversation.  I have always been secretly jealous of people that can tie up their gym shoes and run out their front door and enjoy it.  I’ve never enjoyed running.  I tried track in high school and quit immediately.  But my curiosity is peaked with so many people in my life lately talking about running and the happiness and sense of accomplishment it brings.  The hulabaloo over running a 5k or a marathon always peaks my interest as well.  It’s time for me to consider why I have always discounted running as a sport for someone else.

So I gave it a try.  I mapped out a 2 mile route in my car and decided to try it out.  At first there was a lot more walking than running and my times were far from impressive.  But, even after only a few runs and some seriously sore legs, I’m starting to understand what all the talk is about.  I’m happily surprised at how rewarding it feels to set a goal and run out my front door!

I’m starting to see all the benefits of running compared to some of the other types of exercise I’ve been doing.  I come home exhausted with a huge sense of accomplishment 20-30 minutes later instead of two hours later after a one hour class.  The roads are always open, and free, so no fitting in a class or driving anywhere and paying a fortune.  I just tie my shoes and go!  I can go in any direction, stop and start as I please and challenge myself any way I want.  There is no one out there looking at me or keeping track of what I can or cannot do.  It’s completely my own.  I benefit directly when I make the effort and I don’t benefit when I decide to slack.  No fake turning the resistance button on a spinning bike.

I have not started to focus on my breathing or form too much.  Right now I’m just working on not falling down.  I know that my body knows how to reward itself for this hard work, so now I am searching for the key to unlock the endorphins and let my brain chemistry work for me.  I’m hoping to go from running on empty to discovering the zen of running.

I’m a Gypsy

I am not a creature of habit.  Instead of a daily routine, I’d say I follow more of an outline.  I seem to approach exercise the same way.  I like to jump from activity to activity with the goal of burning some calories and easing some stress.  During my very scarce free time these days, I can be found ice skating, hiking, doing yoga, kickboxing or riding my bike aimlessly around my neighborhood.  So, as much as I’d like to have more “yoga” moments in my life, I also need some time to rock it out and sweat my day away. This week I decided to try doing it on a spinning bike.  I went to a class last night after dragging myself away from my family all nestled in my house and getting ready for bed leaving daddy to enjoy the bedtime routine.  As much as I love bedtime with my kids, Momma needs a night off once in a while if I’m gonna find this mythical happy place.

When I walked into the spinning class, the lights were bright and people seemed pretty relaxed doing their pre-class preparations.  As people wiped down their bikes and found a home for their water bottles and towels, I found my own bike and started to spin my wheels.  Out of nowhere, the teacher roared in like a bullet from a gun, turned the lights way down, the music way up and the room exploded with energy!  We all spun our butts off in the dark keeping form and wiping our brows for the entire hour until the mood came to a screeching halt and the hour was over.  It’s almost disturbing how quickly those kinds of situations start and stop so unnaturally fast.  All the riders scattered quickly, like gypsies, when the class was over, all seeming to have no problem punching their off buttons.  I reached my goal of burning those calories, but was left feeling almost lonely walking back to my car.  It was such an intense experience.  My ears were still ringing when I got home, like I’d been to a concert.  It took me a while to come down from that.  I may not get to my happy place riding a stationary bike.  I think tomorrow I’ll go back to yoga.

I’m not sure I can make a habit out of that spinning class, that just wouldn’t be me.


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