I have come to not need as much as I thought I did at one time in my life. One of the big epiphanies occurred when I ditched my running shoes (which I did not just intuitively do either). I thought that I "needed" shoes and that my husband was a loon for suggesting that I didn't. I thought that "gear" is what would make me a better runner. Sometimes that is true but only to an extent and only depending on your own expectations of yourself. If you want to run just open the door and go. I changed how I saw running and I fell in love with that primal act that my body is made to do.
I like to drive. Its very relaxing. There is something about the simple movement through time and space. I find it soothing and lovely. This is how I feel about running only even more so. To have my own two feet moving me forward and when I find that sweet spot where the discomfort doesn't matter anymore and I feel as if I could run forever. Those moments are what keep me coming back.
The times when the thoughts flow and move as they please. When I feel connected to the earth and the air. Yeah it sounds like a bunch of hippy shit but all the rest of you runners know what I mean and if you don't, then you are maybe at a point where you might want to reevaluate why you run.
For some of those who are lost right now and have misplaced your mojo, here is my advice. Say "frak it" and just go out and run. Now watch, no expectations, no Garmin. If its hard to even get out there, make a goal to just get out there. Not to burn calories but just to move your feet. You can turn around and change your mind but you must get out there to at least give it a shot. Thats all. There will be more races down the road. There will be more opportunities to show what you've got but really what else is there besides you and the road. I like to think that your mojo will return somewhere around the time you stop looking for it. You know, like lost keys.
I have these expectations I put on myself and they really are just something I decide on. I get wrapped up in them and then the competitive nature in me gets fired up reading some super runners blogs and I feel like a slacker. I can go all out for a while and kick some major arse but its hard to keep it up and I want to just go back to my mellow ways. What always eventually occurs to me is that I like to run and it doesn't matter if I quit blogging and crept into my little bubble again I would still be pretty much the same. I won't quit because it is good for me to get out in the world even if it is mostly virtual but its fun to think about change.
I want to get better and stronger and faster but all of that takes time and dedication and sometimes other things get in the way of that. I get to hang out with my family and run and I have loads of time to do fun things. Thats what matters most. Not some race I paid to run. I have to remind myself of this as work is making marathon training tricky. I work part time and I am a contractor. Work is not guaranteed so I take what I can get and I have to stay flexible. If I have to work for a 3 day weekend, which looks to be the case for several weekends in a row, then I have to do that while I can. There will be more marathons to come. Thanks to Jaymon for reminding me of this. I may be able to swing it with doing long runs during the week instead of the weekends but we shall see what unfolds.
I think I am contemplating the contradictions. I like high intensity and move towards that but as I mature I want to move away from high intensity and the transition is strange sometimes. Many people think that ,for instance, barefoot running is so hard core. On the contrary, its a mellow way to run. You run lightly and gently and most barefoot runners I know have gravitated to a more light and gentle attitude about the rest of their lives as well. We don't like pain, hence the ditching of the shoes!
So mentioning shoes makes me think of stuff and gear for runners. In my little family of six, we don't really have a bunch of stuff and we don't buy things very often. We get many things second hand and don't spend money on cable tv and going to movies or out to eat. We want time. Time together and time to just be mellow. If I want to do a bunch of activities then I have to pay for it. I then have to work at a job and spend my valuable time paying for these activities. To some people this is important and it is fun but for us its not worth the time right now.
This will change as Jaymon and I age and our kids move on with their own lives but for now with little ones we try and live more minimally by choice. I didn't used to be like this by the way. Just like thinking I had to have gear, I also thought I needed to spend money to be happy. These are lessons that I have learned from my dear one and am thankful that I have always been drawn to him for his differences from me. I have let them change me and I am happier for it.
Its kind of strange to get a bunch of free stuff from companies to try out. Its great for us since we live on a very minimal budget and I have very much enjoyed the stuff I have been sent. Its a win win for all really. I get free stuff and the company gets some exposure and you get a chance to try it out for free too. Bottom line though, its just stuff and I like it but I don't need it.
I constantly have to remind myself to turn down my emotional volume and mellow out and remember what matters the most to me. Life can be overwhelming. We had big plans and all of them changed drastically when we had a son with autism. We have worked and spent thousands and thousands of dollars on trying to help him. We moved to a different state and put many of our own desires on hold for a while. For me, it has made me a better person. It has made me evaluate what matters most to me.
Most days I appreciate my limitations.as they breed creativity and appreciation for what I have. I am able to do this in part because I run. It has been a long hard road to get where I am today and thanks to my lovely family of boys I am able to be safe and free to be who I am.
I get out there and burn off the pain, laugh, cry, zone out. I push my kids in a stroller or run with my husband. I want to travel and run all over the country. Where ever I am I can run. Every time I have set out and put one foot in front of the other I have changed. Where I ran became a part of me.
At the end of the day I am a mother to four of the coolest little boy spawn I know and a wife to my best friend. I run barefoot because I love it. It started out so I could continue to run to become and stay injury free but now that I know how great it is even if there were shoes that would never cause injuries, I still would run barefoot.