Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Existentialists in shorts," creating meaning on the run

"Running wasn't just exercise or a hobby, or even necessarily competition, for them. Basically they were existentialists is shorts. I wanted to be one, too." -Scott Jurek, "Eat & Run."

Sometimes you create meaning with each step of a run. Sometimes with none. Mostly it's a happy medium.

I start out noticing every step. The impact on landing, the effort to move my legs. The first part of a run is an in-body experience. Everyday mind.

Each step moves further into consciousness. The body starts to fade into the background. The mind wanders. Wanders with the music. Wanders, thoughts flitting like birds out of mind. The breath is still there, and the movement. The body doesn't hurt, yet. I don't notice the miles or effort.

Then it comes back, the body. The breath reconnects, the legs are pumping, the arms, everything is in sync, connected, but different from when I started.

On long runs I can drift between these states--in body, out. On those, exhilaration can meet delirium.

I am running right behind some deep revelation, something life changing, if I can only run a little faster, reach out and catch it, grab it, tackle it.

But it's rarely about that revelation. I'm not generally fast enough to catch it. It's then that I get that it's the first step where we create meaning in a run, and every step after, not just some elusive magical step.

It's the knowledge that two, four, 10, 20, 50 miles are underfoot, logged by will, effort, discipline. I've put some order on one small part of the day, in my own way. I've seen things that no one sitting inside got to see. I've lived. I've reminded my mind-body-soul that we are free and mobile, sometimes. When we ask.

*Co-posted from The 4-1-Run blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't call it a comeback

After a number of dormant months, a funny thing happened in the world of the Rise Up Runners: a mess of us ran a race. Old school style, the kind where everyone meets and carpools, runs their arses off and hangs out at, say, an Irish pub after. It's one of the reasons this group got together in the first place.

And despite a number of us having been on a bit of a running hiatus, folks ran pretty well at the Denton St. Patrick's Day 5K. You can check out the results here (including the ever speedy, not yet 40 Szwaja taking 2nd overall in 18:22). A number of RURs in the medals or damn near, as well as a number of new RUR affiliates and friends coming out to run and have fun.

We haven't met at "Da Corner" at 5am in some time. There haven't been many weekend group runs, aside from a nice turnout for a New Year's Day run around Easton. But when the RUR tribe gets together, it feels (to me) like we haven't missed a beat. Part of that is because of the friendships that the group has forged--a number of us enjoy hanging out whether or not we run. But here's hoping for more running and running-related adventures coming soon.

One of the next, most geographically common sensical places for our next trick would be the St. Michaels Running Festival on May 19. Take your pick of a half-marathon, 10K or 5K.

And equally big, or bigger, news from the World of Rise Up (WORU). Our namesake, Rise Up Coffee has opened Rise Up Coffee Roasters in Easton. There were quite a number of RURs in attendance for their grand opening this past Monday. They open early enough to run through for coffee. And I can foresee RUC's Easton joint being a meeting place and hang out for our band of boneheads. Be sure to get over and say hi to and congratulate Tim Cureton and the crew.

With all these recent goings-on and exciting news, I don't want you to get the wrong impression. This is nothing new. In fact, I wouldn't call it a comeback. If you think it is, you should just listen to LL Cool J...