Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inertia and seasons, part 2

Guest blogger: Melody Fairchild is an accomplished runner training for the Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, TX in January 2011. This is the second of two blogs from Melody.  Enjoy!

Perhaps one reason for the timing of many of the world’s biggest marathons - in the Fall - is so that runners can slow down a bit during winter and allow themselves to be in sync with nature. My first and best marathon (Twin Cities 1999) was in late September. Like many runners that day, I was energized by the crisp, cool air and the beauty of my favorite time of year.

Inertia can connote being stuck. Like me and the shoes losing a battle with the door, which on some days goes from being a piece of wood with a knob on it, to the Great Wall of China. I can win that battle by allowing the changes outside to be the external forces which inspire fresh and gentle approaches to the daily rigors of training. Luckily we don't have to sleep for six months to rejuvenate. Very gratefully, we can infuse ourselves daily with joy, through our senses, spicing-up our seasons of running.

Halloween has just passed, a day which my Colorado neighbors associate with the first snowfall. No snow yet. Each morning, I wonder if that stillness which precedes a good dumping if snow will impregnate the airwaves, and then the silence of a big snow will slow the world down for a while. If it does happen, I will enjoy it, letting myself mirror the mood of my immediate environment. There is a Zen saying, "Go Slow, Slow, so you can go Fast, Fast." Arthur Lydiard interprets for us runners, “Run Easy” and “Train smarter, not harder.”

When that first snow comes, I vow to dart into it, celebrating the new experiences for my senses and hydrate by catching snowflakes on my tongue, quenching the thirst my body remembers from hot summer runs. I’ll embrace the darkness, to feel the omnipresent stillness.

I recently saw a quote: "Dreams keep one young." Whether it's the Olympic Trials, or a dream to run all four seasons with joy, no doubt the external forces of nature will keep us peering into the internal frontier with child-like wonder, at the delightful path our senses will take us down next.

Here's to allowing the external forces of the coming winter season to nudge us toward our shoes, so we may express, through the Art of Running, our playful and focused, quiet and ambitious, slow and fast selves. When we do, we'll give ourselves the gift of realizing that every day is beautiful.

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