race day affirmation

Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man [devotes] himself to his life with reverence in order to give it true value. ... At the same time the man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give to every will to live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. - Albert Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought Today was race day! I met some really wonderful people. But let's get into the 'race': When I finally found the 4:00 pacer, which was my goal marathon pace based on my training, I discovered 10k later, so at 30k, that today was not my day. I finished 10 minutes off - but before I knew that, as I approached the final uphill, I had a completely unexpected sensation of being exactly where I was meant to be today.
Up until that point, I had made a firm commitment to just keep 'running', which felt more like a generous walk, so I was not anticipating a positive outcome, though I definitely put through the motions what I've lear…

aesthetics on the go: an oxymoron?

I've adopted a flagrant blogging style here, publishing first drafts that are edited later, which must be conspicuous, like yesterday when I was hazardously and unsuccessfully attempting Woolfian extended syntax. Despite that, however, I suddenly found in the short interim that I have become fond of this blogging outlet, and out of fondness came a wish to improve. I changed the blog layout and labels, and plan to be more careful with the Publish button. I will now swiftly draw a parallel between the bid to prettify a blog written on the fly and the beautifying techniques that the conscientious runner soon finds necessary during training blocks. What happens to the toes?! as one is merely breezing past the scenery, picking one's feet up just a little faster...
Hopefully, that parallel highlighted a dilemma: the earnest pursuit can, at moments,mangle one's mien, until just enough practice is gained to maintain it again.
When it comes to maintaining those material toes from t…

better when tested

Ten days ago, I got a gift of a bottle of Pocari Sweat from a really nice person, which I took on the only training run I got done at that time. A little gesture can cultivate courage, as in, a wish again to find that ever-surprising abundance that nourishes but only in the everyday, which doesn't last forever, and can only be accessed by making something anew, investing effort yet again, something like the sign of being alive, day after day, this thing that we create that doesn't begin as something material but can materialise. The opposite of doubt. Doubt, that poison that comes from others through a look, through incomprehensibility over why something is to be pursued just for the sake of it; doubt from the internalised reason behind such thoughts: because who wants to find themselves astray, alone in a land of pipe dreams (where such are produced by opiates, so tragic)? Who, with a rational mind, can explain "for the sake of it"? Have courage, man! This is what I…

scorpions to desire

Yesterday, in a pocket-hour of warm air, I was reminded of my spring running lament: is one really a vegan when one inhales gnat sandwiches? The absurdity of that thought of a bug diet was not unlike a sign for a neighbour I read on my return to my building: "Crazy woman! Stop throwing cacti about the building! Clean up that mess." (Indeed, we all heard a moment of anger and something being jettisoned in the early hours...but, a cactus?!) It's the element of the unexpected that's the theme of this running post.
Last time I wrote, I was sure sick days off were going to ruin my running gains. As it is, for over a week now, several minutes have been shaved off my time per mile, without my trying since I try to execute "easy days easy". It's unexpected. I also noted that even though I thought that I'd finished getting all the new fancy muscle through just running, I keep visibly gaining muscle. I keep planning to add in strength work, but up to now, I t…

masters in training

There is an old story from the monasteries in the Eastern church that tells of an abbot who had lived a chaste life but who, on his death bed, was visited by the devil who complimented him on his achievements, to which the abbot, instead of saying, thanks be to God's great mercy, took the compliment for himself, and so, the story goes, lost his soul in the final moment after an entire life of spiritual exploits and accomplishments. The story has been on my mind because I was reminded again this week that the battle is daily, and it is never like one will wake up on this earth and get to say, good on me for that final victory, now, let me rest on my laurels!
After a surprise day of full-on sun shininess, today the rain came bringing with it that special silence that is so nice to run in, conducive, too, to the philosophical mantle I have put on (in case you didn't notice from the previous paragraph) since last week when I sequested myself in my version of sick bay for a few da…

trudge, trudge, streaka!

The last two posts left draft to Publish kind of like how on sinister mornings, it feels great to start a long run a little fast, until it is no longer the beginning, and we poor sloggers reenact a solo version of the Muppets', "Trudge trudge, streaka streaka". Things happen, we move on, and edit, if we can.
I'd love to be able to edit my running - or even understand it. There can be streaks of days where I slow down: today's run was meant to be a mere 20 miles with over half at marathon pace: it was all I could do to just finish it, though, *clears throat: today began as "a sinister morn'".
These have been strange days: in this little city, things have been exploded underground; the pollution count has been "very dangerous"; many mornings begin with a thick fog that brings icicles to the trees which during a long run melt into hail while eyelashes freeze then shed water like tears.
It has been hard to keep up with the training plan, and …

ice and freedom

Last night, I looked at the google stats for this blog before writing (so low, it can't be limboed!) and decided to persist in writing, as one persists in running - towards finish lines of achievement currently out of sight, hopefully.
Since the ice began to thaw, there have been many sights to marvel at. I've included a few below. First, the ice that had kept me off my regular route for over a month was real, as you might imagine from this image:

Swans had been relegated to tiny pools of melted water, and boats were stuck in ice. I had left the treadmill as soon as it was possible to reach these views.

The wind has been pre-gale force: warranting the one red pennant that would warn small vessels from setting out, as if they could. I learned something from those birds that somehow remained in flight during these blustery days: they also struggle, but convey something of the normalcy of the intense effort required at challenging times. The activity of birds can reaffirm the…