Sunday, June 2, 2013

Going With The Flow

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."  ~Albert Einstein

I love this quote!

It perfectly describes what trail running is to me and often fills my head when I am out exploring. It is more than a quote to me. It is almost a directive and I believe it to be 100% true. I think if everyone took the opportunity to look deep into nature....then perhaps the world would be a slightly better place. If only we did not spend so much time trying to change it...fear it...dominate it...and control it.

"Looking deep" has been something I have spent a good amount of time doing the past few weeks as I have been exploring trail running and myself like never before (not like that people...oy!)

On a trail running level I have tried to become more with nature. Now, when I say that I do not mean I have stopped showering or anything...I just mean I have tried to be apart of it instead of just observing and appreciating it. Usually when I run I stop a few times and look around. This leads to me taking quite a few pictures (which you know if you are friends with me on FB or Instagram). I always try to take in everything around me from a silent and still point of view. When I do I feel like nature is watching me. I feel like she is happy I am there and is embracing and thanking me. And each time I am also thanking her for the opportunity to be a part of something so special. 

This has been a wonderful thing for me. It brings quite a bit of "inner peace" that my busy life lacks on a regular basis. Being still is not easy for me and to have something as beautiful as nature around me as I attempt it is a blessing. I say it often....I am so fortunate to have been raised with parents who have/had a love for nature and who thought it was so important to pass that love on. Not only is it good for the environment...but it is good for the human soul. 

Now, while observing nature on the trails has been wonderful, as of late I am left with the feeling that I am missing something by stopping so often. I really can't explain why this bothered me. It kind of had me feeling lazy. Yes, I was taking in all these amazing views...but was I really "being one" with my surroundings...or was I just a casual observer?  It made me feel like I was not looking deep enough. The feeling made me want more out of my interactions with nature.

Soooo....with weather in the mid 80's and 76% humidity I decided to change things today (if you know me...this comes as no surprise!) This afternoon I went down to Raven Run for a couple hours of running. It had been days since I had been on the trails and I was eager to reconnect. I planned out my routine with one major change: my phone was going to stay tucked away. Usually, I run with it so that I can take pictures of all the beautiful things around me. Not today. Today I told myself that I was going to run the whole a consistent pace. As you can imagine, this was a challenging task! (I am one who likes to take my time on the uphills and fly downhill with childlike, reckless abandonment.)

I will admit it took work, but once I got my pace down the experience was wonderful. Sure, I didn't have time to look around and see everything but the feeling of running "with" instead of "in" nature was amazing. This afternoon I felt like I was apart of it all. As the birds were flying and the streams were flowing...I too was making my way. Instead of taking it all in I was a part of it. I did not stop and listen to birds like I normally do. Today, I got to learn how they sounded in flight while I was in flight. I got to run with the squirrels and chipmunks and noticed that when you stay running they do too. When you stay in motion, nature stays in motion and you get to really feel the balance that exists. It was a magical afternoon. I am not sure anyone else there really understood what that feeling was like. I can only imagine what they thought when they ran into me making my way up and down the path. When I finally took my shoes off at the car and looked at myself I almost could not believe it. I looked like I had fallen into a stream. My hair was dripping wet. My grey shirt was completely black and clinging desperately to my body. I had not realized it at the time... but 2 hours of running around in that humidity had made me sweat so much that my clothing had become a cooling source for my body. I think staying in constant motion for that long allowed my body to finally adapt to the heat. Of course, the 3 bottles of water may have also we all know I am working on my hydration :)  

The second picture...that is all I got...after I jumped into the Envoy and kicked my shoes off.

In the end I may have looked like a wreck...but I was blissfully happy and conquered a new distance on trail. I felt like I could have gone on forever.  Right now...not so much...I feel like I have been hit by a truck....but I would not change it for the world! I think this is the new way I am going to train. I am going to become just another creature out there...just trying to fit in :)  On a side note...I have to give a shout out to all the people at the Richmond Rd Starbucks. They constantly see (and probably smell) me come in covered in sweat and mud...and they still seem excited that I am there! It makes a girl feel pretty good :)

On a personal level things have been changing as well. I am not going to lie and say things have been perfect when it comes to nutrition and my tendencies. I have had my ups and downs...but on my internal mountain I feel like I am no longer hanging out at base camp. I have acclimated and am starting to stage an attempt. The support has been amazing and I am so grateful for all you wonderful people! I spend quite a bit of time looking at myself...but instead of looking harshly like I have in the past...I am just trying to "see" myself. Each night I look at myself in the mirror.  I took at my muscles. I have never really done that before. To breakdown ones self in a positive way is a beautiful thing. Like when in nature, we all have things about ourselves that we do not notice at first...but when we find them they are almost mesmerizing. For me it is my eyes. I can look into my own eyes forever. People have always told me my eyes are pretty...but I am just starting to really understand why they think that. I think I am finally starting to appreciate my muscles. In the past I always wished for skinny little legs...but running has really made me love my muscles. My legs can carry me anywhere I want to go...and when I just sit in the shower and flex them I find my calves to be sexy, beautiful and strong. Sure, I have a ways to go...and it is new to me. It has me feeling shy when it comes to myself...and I am anything but shy. I never understood shyness until I forced myself to come face to face with "me" in the mirror. I now understand shyness. I now know what it is like to look at someone and be like "hi" in a really meek is different. I now appreciate shyness. I never had any real experience with it before. I am a social personality. In the past I never understood how if someone wanted to be my friend...or had a question about me...why didn't they just do it or ask it...I'm a pretty nice person...I like people and I like to interact.  Now I know and at times it sucks. I hope to get over it one day and be like "yo! whatup! when I stand in the mirror...but for now I will kind of stare at myself quietly ( a lot of that seems to be going on as of late)....waiting to see if I look at myself and am like "hi...I like you...I feel like we know each other and you are really neat."

I find myself looking at this picture a lot because 1) my eyes and 2) as I get older I start to look more and more like my mom

So that is it. The trails are great...I am great....and "Hi....yes you....I think you are neat and we need to be friends".  :)

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