"Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion." ~Gail W. KislevitzI ordered the "Running The Edge" book by Adam Goucher & Tim Catalano of Run The Edge a couple of weeks ago and I just received my signed copy on Saturday. It's a pretty interesting concept for a running book: "Running The Edge offers a direct challenge to cast off the chains of normalcy, average, and good enough. By looking into the six mirrors of the distance maven, you will discover how you can reach your maximum potential in running and life..."
The basic concept is that by becoming your "ideal self", you will get more enjoyment out of life and running. You can read the book and enjoy it for the stories/ideas or you can work through it as a workbook to improve some or all of your life stories (education, career, family, friendships, and passions). Adam & Tim share some very personal stories so they are working through the same lessons you are. I thought I would work through the sections on my blog and share the journey with you.
The first section is not so much fun: they ask you to list your worst qualities and your best qualities. Oh, I have a pretty easy time coming up with my worst qualities. It's the best qualities that are hard to come up with.
My worst qualities:
*I have a bad temper
*I tend to hide my head in the sand when things make me nervous
*I don't have a lot of patience with my coworkers
*I have a tendency to shut off my emotions when things get intense (good or bad)
My best qualities:
*I love fiercely
*I'm stubborn (this can go either way!)
Am I happy about my worst qualities? Heck no. Especially the bad temper & the lack of patience. I try and work on them but I also cut myself some slack when I mess up. I'm not perfect. No one is. I'm kind of impressed that my best qualities list is longer. Not that I have them, but that I was able to give myself a pat on the back about them. That always felt wrong before but I'm good with it today.
In the next section, they talk about self-actualization and some concepts of it from various sources. They ask you to go through the list and identify the attributes you already have and those that would make you your ideal. I'll go into this more in the next post but one of the attributes that I think I already have is "value independence and solitude and need time to focus on developing their own potential".
This is what running does for me. It gives me time to be alone and really think. That's why I don't run with music, even on long runs. Especially not on long runs actually! Running is the ultimate me-time for me and there's nothing I enjoy more than being on my feet for hours at a time, thinking, and enjoying moving through the world.
Someone once asked me how I could stand the drive to Arizona (4 1/2 hours for me). Didn't I think it was boring? Tiring? Long? I said no but I thought to myself "I've run that long with nothing but myself to entertain me, road trips are a piece of cake."
The thing is, there was a time in my life when I didn't like myself so I couldn't imagine spending that much time alone with just my thoughts. I always had to have noise (the radio or tv) as a buffer between me and my thoughts. There were days when I was so depressed, I was afraid to be alone. Afraid of what I might find out about myself. That I would have to admit to my worst qualities. Hey, look...it's me sticking my head in the sand!
But now I'm in a place where I find that I'm not such a bad person to hang out with. ;) A little crazy, maybe. But not a bad sort. Now, I have no problem being alone and independent. I no longer shy away from self-reflection. It's not always fun, but I can do it. And I seem to do it most often when I'm running. I'm not sure why it doesn't happen with cycling. Maybe because the bike is a part of it and I'm always aware of the mechanics of cycling (steering, pedaling, shifting, braking) so it's not a natural process like running and I can't zone out?
Anyway...running has become my meditation. Where I find peace. Where I solve problems. Where I am finding the real Lisa. Where I figured out that being alone and independent has it's advantages. That's one of the reasons I love it and that makes me want to be the best runner I can be.
P.S. That quote at the top is one they posted on their Facebook page today. I really enjoy their writing and their running philosophy. You can order a copy of their book here, read their blog here (lots of fun posts), and follow them on Facebook here.