“The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, it’s too far to walk back.” ― Franklin P. Jones
I may use “jogging” and “running” interchangeably in this particular blog. Not because I don’t care about the disdain for a lack of distinction between the two (this is a conversation that can get messy), I simply don’t have the energy to please both camps. Not tonight.
So, on my not-so-daily-however-very-beneficial jog, I’m starting to laugh. Smile and laugh. This is the point I really wanted to get to. Not to run a mile in a little under 5 minutes (I’ll get there). Not to have the best form (working on it). Not because I hate breathing heavily (that’s a lie). But because I really wanted to experience that sense of euphoria that everyone who does it consistently seems to have. Several friends have expressed how “free” they feel when they run. It makes life and all its distractions seem to melt away. Or at least shrink back amidst a background of a more complex creation.
This being said, the severity of my problems will never outweigh the beauty of complex design in nature. The scent of the grass and trees intermingled with the air of the season, the sound of deer cracking the twigs while moving through a dry creek, squirrels spiraling through branches, lizards rustling in the brush… It all serves as a world away from the world. Where the only rule is one foot in front of the other and steps lead to milestones. If “walking it off” is therapeutic, then running is nirvana. Worried you’ll be alone with your stress? The echoes of your thoughts have too many natural walls to resound off of. They’ll never reach you if you breathe them out and keep your head down. The problem for your problems is your problems don’t jog. You do. So leave them behind for a while.
Back to the laughter. Jogging a lot like life. There are many blind curves. We won’t always be able to see what’s ahead, but your path is leading somewhere. And if you have clearly defined goals, the unknown is not as unsettling as the signs seem to suggest. “Caution” and “Danger” translate into “Challenges Ahead”. Roadblocks are temporary delays. Your mind is your biggest opponent. And the best way to keep from doing too little is to set yourself up with no choice but to finish big.
Want to double your max distance? Take a trail instead of a track. You’ll love it. Gone is the burden of choosing when enough is enough. As outlined with our humorous quote above, the beauty of a trail is that you have to go back whence the way you came. Don’t think about the return. Start and don’t stop. Walk between your running spurts, and go until you’re tired. Next, rest. Then, return. There you go. Now you don’t have a say-so in the matter! However far you travel out, that’s how far you’ll need to travel back. Instant growth. My respiratory system didn’t like me very much at first, but I’ve learned that wellness isn’t a popularity contest. I make the decision and my body follows. With a healthy regard towards indicators that can point towards the hospital, I err on the side of abandon.
It’s a joy that is definitely unlike any other. I do feel free. The bigger picture is found outside the walls of the shops and office. And if I could recommend any advice for the person interested in running, I’d say that it’s what you make it. A stroll can be your marathon. Your stage is the top of a hill overlooking the landscape. Trade in a roof for a cloud-filled firmament. In a world overwhelmed by so much progress at a standstill, use forward motion in one of its simplest forms. And whatever you do, do it now!