Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Tao of Running

sunset over SLC

It seems I'm finally able to run again pain free. Last week, the dogs (Beata and Copper, who is just hangin’ out with us for a bit) and I ran up Grandeur Peak. It was my second run of the year. My first, which was a race, set my recovery back a bit. Today, after my third, I feel that I may be able to add running back into my repertoire.

Running is the most love or hate sport that I know. Most of the people I know who call themselves runners have a type of mania. These people live and breathe running. They hang out in running stores, read running books, talk about running, and go crazy when they can’t run.
varmits on the summit

I’m not like that at all. I’ve run most of my life. There are occasions when I love it but often, especially running on pavement, where I don’t enjoy it at all. But I do like covering a lot of ground out in nature and this, more than anything, is why I run. I mountain bike for pretty much the same reason. On a bike I can cover more ground in a day but running allows me to get places where I can’t go in the bike. When I throw a little climbing into the mix I can cover a lot of somewhat technical terrain in very little time.

From my house I can head out and tick a ridge or handful of summits after a full day of work. In an hour or so I can get somewhere I’m very unlikely to see another person. It’s magic. It’s my church. The Tao of why I run. At least that’s how runners might describe it. For me, it’s just good fun.

4 comments:

Brad said...

There's a book out there written in the mid-70's, The Zen of Running, by Fred Rohe. Coffee-table size, a pictorial, shots of a long-haired Fred romping barefoot through the Marin Headlands, the Sierra, etc. I find it an inspirational read, fun to consult every few years, a kind of running meets Thich Nhat Hanh - mindfulness in motion. Danny Dreyer's Chi Running advocates a similar at-one-ness, but it's more technical, less granola. I'm with you - I love trail running too, especially point-to-point, or big loops requiring of-trail travel. You can hit terrain that's taboo on a bike (i.e. Wilderness), cover ground in half a day that most folks take three days to backpack. My favorite: the JMT from Tuolumne to Agnew Meadows in the autumn, frost blanketing Lyell Canyon, few humans to be seen.

Steve Edwards said...

Hey Brad,

Great to hear from you! I've done that route, but in the opposite direction. Yes, hard to beat.

Zig said...

Funny but I used to work for Runner's World & Mountain Bike Magazine. My doctor once said and I agree that he has never seen a runner with a smile on their face yet.

Yet they keep going for the love of their sport, you must find that love in something to keep you going even when every muscle in your body is telling you to stop.

CT Olson said...

I've had a history with it as well - there's really nothing like the runners high I believe in it and think it does exist. When I trained for marathons years back I could get so into the breath I was able to take several steps at a moderate pace on a single breath - everything was so oxygenated in my system. Then there's the endorphins, which I think are more powerful and IMO why folks get "addicted" to running.

But after overtraining and injuring my ITB I was forced to back off for a while. I think it was the lack of stretching - I'd always add distance and scrimp on stretching (think I learned a lesson there!). I kind of drifted away for several years and put on weight. Recently losing the weight on p90x it's enabled that to happen! I went on one the other day actually and it was good. It's a great time of year to run in New England also. So long as you can find low traffic roads - that can be a challenge as well. Must be nice to live in SLC area to be able to run in the mountains also - as a skier I often lusted after the ability to do that regularly in a place like SLC.