Sometimes I feel shy when I run through the part of the city that needs crossing to get to a beautiful, very long stretch of park. There were days this summer when I felt like - probably due to overtraining - I was flapping my arms a little, or doing the Snoopy happy dance. But something draws me to those longer distances: sometimes, so much frustration with life that it takes that long to unwind those inarticulate scribbles behind me; sometimes, a wish to see certain of those views which only exist that far away; sometimes (when I am especially tired) because I tell myself that by training long, I will be in enough shape to be able to take a scenic mountain run, should my wish be answered and I suddenly find the company.
And the money to buy trail shoes. If only running were free. I have had a really hard time figuring that out of late: how to survive on minimal apparel in winter, for example. Since I like apparel that works, I do invest to some degree but that means - and I wonder how many people will stop reading after I write this - handwashing the clothes after each run, so they are fresh and dry the next day. Am I the only one? I decided to start this blog in part in a quest to find out, and also to write down what I have learned.
But on a final note, speaking of Seneca - so also stoicism, a few years back, I picked up Epictetus' Enchiridion and was amazed at the relevance of the very practical advice, such as, do not be upset over eating your lettuce for supper as others feast if you were not willing to pay the price of obsequiousness to be part of that company (I paraphrase). I wondered to myself many times, returning to that work ever since, how to get the strength to put those lessons into practice, long term. I feel like running is giving me that endurance: by running distance, not only do I put distance between myself and my problems, but I find that by removing myself in that way, I am less emotionally "tied" to challenging aspects of the workplace.
It has been pointed out before that there must have been a philosophical reason why Chrysippus, the father of stoicism, was a runner. How's that for food for thought, to add to that lettuce!
Brush: Ewansim via Deviantart.