Monday, June 18, 2012

The Body and Mind are Strange and Wondrous


Today, I didn't much feel like going out for a run. I'm tired from not having slept well last night and by the time I got home from work and could run, I was just not in a running mood. Still, I went out the door because (a) that's the first step in my running, (b) I had asked Stephanie if it would fit in our schedule for me to run then, and (c) I've been running enough lately that it feels odd when I don't run. Tired or not, I started down the road wondering how long I was going to go. 

For years I have been a three- to five-miler. I'll go long once in a while and by long I mean about seven, but not that often. It's just not really been who I am. However, in January, when I was running a lot, I started going six miles on average for a while just because I was enjoying the run. I would wake up the next day from one of these "long" runs and just want to go do it again.

It's happening again.

I went for a ten-miler on Saturday just because I got out there and everything felt good. I wasn't tired, so I didn't stop. I wasn't tearing up the roads with my speed but I wasn't dogging it either. I was moving well and when I'm doing that, there's no good reason to stop early.

Sunday, I had every intention of going out for some more miles, but then I did other things instead and that was fine. My body wasn't too tired to run, I just didn't run and that was okay.

Then today, feeling tired, I figured I would do three to five at an easy pace, but the run made some decisions of its own. Which is to say that I fell into the rhythm of the run, was fully present in it, and saw every reason to keep going.

I ended up doing seven and a half with some great hills in the mix, but that's not even the best part.

On a whim, I turned left at Colvin instead of my usual right. I went down to the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery and ran through. There are great ups and downs in there, no traffic, and some absolutely stunning beauty. I've lived in the city of Syracuse for nearly all of my 43 years and this was my first time through. What a wonderful thing that I can experience something magically new in this city.

Because I was so focused on the beauty of the cemetery, I had little care for the mileage and just wanted to keep going. Had I not told my wife that I would be home in an hour or so, I probably would have explored a lot more. As it was, I came out inside the SUNY ESF and Syracuse University campus and ran home lifted by all that I had seen.

I did all this barefoot and did about half of the ten-miler on Saturday barefoot and my feet feel as good as my legs. I just feel great and tempted to go out again tonight! I'll hold off on that and see what tomorrow's run has in store instead.

Along with these feelings of loving the run and going longer than usual, I have noticed that I haven't had trouble with depression at all lately. And that's even after watching The Descendants last night. I'm also moving along with publishing my stuff and have collected and copied a book of poems for people to go through and help me select. I don't know if the productivity has helped ward off the depression or if the lack of depression has aided the productivity, but I'm pretty sure that all this running and having fun with my writing are the things that are making me healthy and happy.

I hope I keep running like this for a long time, but for now it's enough that I ran and felt great today. It's enough that running long feels really good and that I know I can bust out ten or even fifteen miles tomorrow if I choose to. It's wondrous to go exploring in Oakwood Cemetery. And it's exciting to have a book of 92 poems ready for people to read and work on with me. And all of this has held depression at bay. It's enough to encourage me to run and write on until the cows come home.