I was trying to figure out what to write about today and like most Sundays, I was left feeling uninspired. I had mentioned in another post, but I usually either cross train or rest on Sundays. Since the advent of my IT band being wiggity wack, I decided to rest and stretch. Running tends to open up my mind- sometimes, like a gentle breeze blowing the curtain away from a window. Other times, running opens my mind with a tornado like force, ripping the door to my home right off its hinges.
So, runless (a concept very hard for me- anyone else struggle on rest days/cross training days/ lower mileage days?) I went to the internet for some inspiration; I went and found THIS article titled “32 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The English Language” and one of the words really struck a chord with me:
At first, the word sounded truly beautiful and wonderful to me. Maybe it is the background image that reminds me of glittery Chicago skyline buildings, the sun streaking through trees, or the sparkle of Christmas lights, or maybe it is the idea of “colours” that induces a sense of whimsical fuzzy feelings in my brain. As I thought more about the word, it took a darker hue in this brain of mine, as it reminded me of a paradigm shift.
You know, rubbing the scales off of our eyes? I don’t know about you, but when things change, in times of transition, or when something I thought I knew doesn’t pan out, I am left feeling dizzy, afraid, and extremely self conscious. I find it hard to be firm in my core when I feel the ground moving beneath me.
I used to never take a day off of running. Or go slower on purpose. Or be nice to myself in my brain. Or give up control sometimes. I have been trying to do that more, but this paradigm shift is causing phosphenes and it is making me uncomfortable. The same concept applies to my life as well: I am actually chasing after careers, relationships, running, etc on my own terms and this is territory that I have never seen before. Creating a life I love is dizzy spell inducing and scary. Being secure is easy when you are doing what everyone else is telling you to do/supporting everything you do/praising you every minute. Being secure when you are unsure of what you are doing is just plain tough.
But, I suppose I should turn to running and my faith for some examples and assistance.
First, Faith. This has always been my favorite Bible verse because let’s be honest here for a second: God sounds like one bad mother (leaving out the last word to that phrase…) in it:
When I am rubbing my eyes in the midst of this paradigm shift, I suppose I should remember that when I am all dizzy and confused, I am surrounded by a world created by, conquered by, and held fast by God. Cool beans.
Next, I turn to running (a gift from God). I like to think about the times in my running where I have been completely confused, left only to appreciate the colors and blurs surrounding me. Usually, those are the times I have done the best and ENJOYED the run the best. The first time I ran a mile in a competitive meet, I just stuck to the plan and ran a 5:56 mile as an 11 year old. It didn’t matter how fast I was (aka a clear/definitive/numerical view of the world); I was just enjoying the newness of the spurts of colors around me. The smell of the track. My new, second hand running spikes. The sound of my breathing. I enjoyed that run, blurry eyed and all.
When I ran Shamrock, I was at the start-line completely confused as to what an 8k is. I thought it was 4.7 miles…those last .2 miles lasted a long time. I overdressed for the weather. I ate maple cinnamon oatmeal an hour before (which is why I felt like vomiting after). And I finished that race having no clue what time I ran, what it meant, or what my “worth” was based on a time. I was smiling ear to ear because I enjoyed the blurry colors of the world around me: the shiny buildings, the amazing runners around me, the feeling of pushing past the pain, and the face of my best friend as he told me he defeated a 4 year old PR. I enjoyed that run, blurry eyed and all.
When I did my long run yesterday, I had to go really slow. Like, 3 minutes slower than I normally run (as to protect my IT band that has the flexibility of a pencil at this point). I remember singing R&B, enjoying my neighborhood, and just truly enjoying being outside. It was almost as if it was my first long run in my entire life. The smell of the harvest. The feeling of the rain. Beyonce singing. I enjoyed that run, blurry eyed and all.
The man gave me some good advice today: take it day by day. As I thought about the word “phosphenes”and how it applies to life and running and everything in between. We will never be able to forget everything we have learned or experienced in our lives. Or live life without some sort of “direction” or goals. Or plan or be strategic. But maybe, just maybe, we can start each day by rubbing our eyes and enjoying the simple colors around us. No expectations. No ideas of what it should be. Just secure in ourselves and the new paradigm of today.
I call it vision without projection.
Others call it present.
Or maybe, phosphenes.