There has been a dramatic shift in my mindset as I embrace the shorter runs. As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’ve been in marathon mode for years, and aside from being brand new to running and tackling my very first races, haven’t had the experience of training for a race for anything shorter than 26.2 miles. With my primary objective being focused solely around the long run, I knew I could perform anything shorter than a marathon without specific, focused training.
Even now, with the 15k in less than four weeks, I have a hard time looking at this upcoming event as something I’m “in training” for. And I think that’s what I’m essentially trying to undo right now; the need to steadily work in one direction to meet a goal. As a casual marathoner (i.e., one who runs marathons, rather than racing them), I’ve embraced that more relaxed quality, but it also came with my own personal goals and a lot of pressure that I placed on myself to maintain that identity.
“Avoidance of boredom is the only worthy mode of action. Life otherwise is not worth living.” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
I’ve been enjoying moving my body in a variety of ways these last few weeks. It’s impossible for boredom to set in, and there’s no longer this feeling of entrapment. I want to train, not for an aesthetic or status, but train to live life to its fullest. Rather, for now, I’d like to remove the word “train” from my vocabulary and embrace fluidity. To feel at home in my body, and allow my physical movement and time in nature to create overall harmony and balance, yet with enough challenge, variability and randomness to build resilience and become antifragile.
Recognizing this is a practice in itself. In the physical sense, there is an overall value in placing various vectors of stress on the body, and I find the different challenges to be both enjoyable and interesting; it’s as though I’m in a playground. Pull up bars, rings, kettle bells, box jumps and Animal Flow are among my favorite pursuits at the moment, which pair well with the amount of running I’m doing. Mentally, I’m shifting my paradigm to a wider perspective, and am coming out of the linear way of thinking as it pertains to mileage, pace, and overall progress.
This plays out in the process of meditation. A steady, intent focus on one object, be it the breath, scanning the body, or a mantra, can keep ones eyes on the prize, if you will. Alternatively, a practice that is more open and receptive, one that has less rules and invites thoughts and emotions to play out as they come into awareness, can create a greater ease. There is a richness in staying with the discursive, active mind, and in getting to know all aspects of what’s arising in our experience. This is the parallel I see. One meditative program doesn’t hold greater value over the other, but the option to change lenses can allow for a different perspective. It’s this interchangeability that creates the opportunity for growth, expansion, and a deeper understanding of what, at the root, is most important.