But yeah… running was romantic; and no, of course her friends didn’t get it because they’d never broken through. For them, running was a miserable two miles motivated solely by size 6 jeans: get on the scale, get depressed, get your headphones on, and get it over with.
But you can’t muscle through a five-hour run that way; you have to relax into it, like easing your body into a hot bath, until it no longer resists the shock and begins to enjoy it. Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rhythm that you almost forget you’re moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that’s when the moonlight and champagne show up : “You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off,” Ann would explain.
You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel. What could be more sensual than paying exquisite attention to your own body? Sensual counted as romantic, right? –McDougall, Christopher, Born to Run.
Lately, I have been running silently.
I fully blame this quote. Before, music was an escape. Now, I push through and try and find the sweet, subtle place where my body finds peace, grace, the quiet calm at the center.
I never really thought I’d ever be able to run silently. Like most, running was an escape, and music only aided in that. I’d jam to songs that I would eventually come to know as well as the pattern of my footsteps. I would look forward to the stop lights that forced me to wait and eventually have a little solo-sidewalk-dance party. Running without headphones felt more like torture then the dance party music made it.
This past year, however, I’ve been running more and more for the love of it. Once I stopped timing myself last year, re-centered myself around my running goals, and became stronger for it, I also rediscovered how much I actually liked running. For so long, it had been a way to lose weight, then a way to bond with kids.
Now, though, after trying lots of other types of exercise, I’ve come to realize that I just love the act of it– the rhythmic, soothing, visceral connection. Running is so unique because it requires almost nothing: just the road and your own will. There’s no bike to set up and little gear to put on. It’s just the consistent conversation between the yammering of your brain, the thump of your heart, the swirl of your breath and aligning it all with the patter of your footfall.
Once I found that, I actually stopped wanting to use music. I would pause it while I followed my breath, or zoned out and worked on a problem while I ran. I realized that music was actually separating me from the run, and I didn’t like it.
So, now I guess I’ve gone quiet for a bit. I don’t plan on giving up sidewalk dance parties anytime soon, but I’m certainly loving this reconnection with my body.