Sunday, May 15, 2011

Running thoughts...

My long runs have become increasingly meditative in a way that is hard to describe.  Many people feel some sort of peace when they run, especially sans headphones or iPod, focusing instead on their breath, their surroundings, foot steps, and their thoughts.  Others may find their runs very thought provoking, making metal lists of what they need to do later that day or maybe even what their goals are for their future.  When running 16 to 20 miles (or 3-4 hours) my thoughts can range from the excitement of the long run and upcoming marathon, to celebrating the end of the run with some huevos rancheros, to self-doubt, sometimes accompanied by holding back tears.

21 days  and counting!
I don't know if other runners experience this doubt and fear.  Fear of failure and the thoughts that I won't be able to complete the marathon run through my mind after about mile 14.  I believe I have trained properly, this isn't a matter of being tired or unfit...this is a subconscious entity that comes from inside of me.  I fear it is the very same thing that I stuffed down when I became anorexic and that enables me to say today that I feel like that part of my life happened to someone else, not me.  I am so detached from it that it scares me to know that during these long runs my body and mind are breaking down enough to allow it to resurface ever so slightly.

This is not to say that I am developing any kind of eating issues because I am not.  It's more like a discovery of what lead to my eating disorder, and later, to the depression I had during my 20's and early 30's.  And it's kind of strange that it is surfacing now through running since I had tried counseling (in-patient and out-patient), meditation, religion (Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, including visiting an Ashram), medication, and more self-help books then I care to remember.   All of these efforts have definitely helped shape me into the person I am today.  I've learned a lot about myself and others, how to distance myself from toxic people and situations, and other invaluable life skills.  But I never learned about WHY I had almost killed myself through starvation and about the unrealistic pressures I still place on myself today.  In retrospect, it is as if I traded one form of self-deprecation for another.

The other day I finally got around to watching Black Swan.  Without going into too much detail I can tell you that some aspects of the movie also brought up old, hidden emotions that, coupled with my last 20 mile long run, has really got me thinking.  Hopefully, if and when more is revealed to myself through these runs, it will become more liberating and less frightening.  Eventually, I'd like to be able to deal with the past emotions and move towards a truer form of running meditation to get me through my next (and last) marathon in October.

The quest for perfection.

1 comment:

  1. Is it safe to say that you are pushing your body to limits you've never experienced before? If this happens to be true, I am not at all surprised that you are uncovering these emotions; there is something so entirely raw about pushing ourselves beyond what we normally do. It sounds like you are on the verge of a breakthrough - that you're going in deeper to who you really are and that is a gift. Who knows what you'll find there.


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