I've been reading a whole lot as of late, and it's been very therapeutic for me. I read for leisure while in elementary and middle school. It waned drastically in high school and barely existed in college. The books I read were assigned, and I put as much of myself into the experience of college as I could. I don't regret that at all.
But now is a period of change. I've started working. I've begun reading again. I've set a new huge goal for me to set my sights on. I haven't announced it to everyone, but I will complete an Ironman. Yes. I feel like it's the ultimate physical test.
While researching this event, I learned about ultramarathons. Ultramarathons are distances far greater than 26.2 miles. Some are 50 miles, and some are far more. My jaw dropped when I read this. I suppose I only scratched the surface at the possibility of what we humans can do. :)
An excerpt of an ultramarathon book fascinated me. The thesis of it was that civilized man has forgotten the roots and enjoyment of running. It is treated as an exercise which is loathed and not a liberating experience that is the equivalent of moving meditation. The book asserts that it is freedom.
I let that thought ruminate in my head for a long time.
I began to run again. I started running around a trail near home and since I departed after 7pm, I gave myself the stopping point of 'when it gets dark', naturally.
It was windy and I was nearly blown sideways as I ran on this trail of gravel. There are inclines and declines, and I just felt happy to have this sort of control back. I just let the experience soak in and didn't beat myself up for stopping, but pushed those notions of getting to my personal best aside and thought to myself -- just enjoy the movement and everything else will come later. I looked towards the sky and it was gorgeous. It was all sorts of pinks, purples, and blues. I thought I was so blessed to run on a trail all by myself, to be in my own quiet, and to reach a sense of peace I can only imagine ultramarathoners feel. I was going back to basics, which is my overarching goal.
It's been a really reflective few weeks for me, as I've questioned a lot of assumptions about life and the way I live it. I do this to become more self-aware, to continually improve, to learn about other ways people live their lives, and to become more mature in my thoughts as I re-examine them.
Today the bottom of my shoe started peeling off after my run. It was very fitting as a metaphor I thought. As I start to exercise my mental muscles again, it will peel away the layers. What shall I find underneath?