Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Becoming More Like God

Day 4 and the good news is I managed to drag my sorry self down to the park while there was still some daylight left, no mean feat, given the constraints of working hours plus picking up and dropping off nippers to and from various activities. The youngest, whose idea this is, lets not forget, had a busy end to his day, being taken straight from school to drama to the park. Serves the little bugger right. The bad news is that dinner put in another unwelcome and unscheduled appearance. Plus, everything hurts, despite the day of rest. Double plus, Tiger Balm burns like fuck............it's much hotter than deep heat.

I had mentioned my less than heroic efforts over the weekend to someone at work, and he said, maybe you should try and get it into a meditative state while you are running. This doesn't seem likely at the moment, not when my mind is concentrating on the difficulty of lifting a leg, the searing, heartburn like sensation in my chest, the deep dub of the pulse in my chest and head and the certain knowledge that sooner or later I will be reintroducing myself to a previous meal.

It's an interesting point though. Twenty or so years ago I was a pretty keen cyclist and would cycle from Cardiff to Newport and back almost on a daily basis and would go for much longer rides at weekends. There would always come a point, which might last a minute and might last for many minutes when I would feel at one with the bike and the road. Everything would just feel right and I would bomb along at a decent clip, effortlessly.......... it would be nice to get to a stage where I could enjoy a similar state of transcendence from running. I believe it's called flow. I won't hold my breath.

Don't just take my word for it: For those of you new to meditation, Pratt gives the following explanation of how runners can benefit from the practice:

\"What surprises some people is that meditation is very much a body-oriented discipline. It is not about leaving your body and entering some celestial realm. It is about relating to the here and now which we experience through our five senses. So in meditation we learn to let go of our thoughts and come back to our body. Running and meditation are perhaps the most energizing and ultimately, joyful, activities in my life. Bringing them together is about as good as it gets.\"

Added Pratt: \"The practice of meditation has brought freshness into my running because when I have a meditative mind I am fully in the moment and fully in my body. I am more relaxed and more joyful. When I have this attitude every run is a new and exciting experience.\"

Todays effort was bit bitty, easily the least satisfactory of my wruns so far, and yes, it is still wrunning, I haven't yet progressed to a jog. I thought we would get about fifteen minutes worth in and reasoned that as short as that it is, it is better than nothing, but in the end we were out for nearly an hour, not that we were wrunning for nearly an hour. Much of it was taken up with practising free kicks, corners and penalties on the various football pitches; regardless of the fact that we didn't actually have a ball with us. Does simply being out in the fresh air count as exercise, or are you supposed to actually do something?

Actually, we did a fair bit and I was running a bit further before needing to stop and needing much less rest before I could start again; it wasn't enjoyable though, there was no sense of flow. The nipper was miserable to start with and didn't fancy it but soon got into the swing and became bloody unstoppable; it's good having him around. It hurt though, every step is accompanied by on overwhelming feeling of discomfort and shame. Every breath hurts; you can almost hear my chest squeal and while that is going on I am wondering if the intense sensation down my left hand side is heartburn or the beginnings of a heart attack. Not that I'm a drama queen or anything.

Also, as difficult as it was I treated it a bit more playfully. When the nipper got distracted and arsed about, I arsed about as well, and we just sort of wran randomly about, rather than follow a route. So we had about 40 minutes of fairly gentle exercise altogether, although it didn't seem particularly gentle at the time; I am very heavy footed bastard. I don't know if it did any good, but it certainly won't have done any harm, which might not be true of the finch, chimps and mushy bees I had for my tea.
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