My One Running Friend and I had this fabulous plan to run trails every Wednesday this summer.
We've done this together exactly one time.
But me? I'm on it. Every Wednesday I grab my ipod and head for the hills. Literally. Big ones, made of sand. And I run. No, it might not be pretty, but I do it. It's good for me. Or something.
And this morning, I decided to try and really embrace the whole "Zen and the Art of Running" and "Chi Running" books that I've been reading and trying to incorporate into my training. They make it sound so easy to increase my life force, center myself, and become one with all. So I left my ipod (possibly the most important part of running) at home and headed out for the trail head. I thought it would be sooooo perfect out there on the trails - listening to the waves crashing on the shore, the birds singing in the trees, focusing on my breathing, centering myself. The secrets of the universe would be revealed to me in my little Zen running bliss. I was so excited. So ready.
I heard no waves. Because there was no breeze. Not even the slightest hint. I heard no birds. Apparently, elevently million degrees plus one million percent humidity is enough to keep them quiet. I did hear me panting, and my occasional horse-like exhalation of breath. And the bugs swarming around my sweat-soaked self (and you know they're big when you actually feel the impact when they hit your shoulder). And I heard the creatures that were trying to scamper or slither out of my way. (That was actually the most Zen part of the whole thing - me repeating "it's a bunny, it's a bunny, it's a bunny" every time something unidentified made the undergrowth rustle.)
I saw exactly one other human out there, doing the same thing as me, and we grunted at each other as we passed. And I noticed the raging swarm of gnats around his head and realized, dear Heavens, I must have one of those, too. And they are in my hair. Gross.
Never once did I do anything that the Zen/Chi books suggested. I was too busy hurdling roots and unidentified undergrowth wildlife, and wiping sweat and bugs from my eyes, and cursing my stupidity for even being out there in the first place, to count each left footfall or hold the perfect arm position to achieve enlightenment.
By the time I made it back to the parking lot, I was dripping sweat. And covered in sand. And I might have been cursing a little bit.
And I promised myself that next Wednesday, I would totally bring my ipod.
Because, yeah, I'll totally be back next Wednesday.
Because it increases my life force.
And makes me feel centered.