Saturday, January 31, 2009

January - The Month that Continues to Humble this Runner!

Last January I forced myself to run a 13.1 mile training run because I wanted to say I could run that distance. I proved it to myself, but I also spent the rest of the day on the couch hurting and extremely humbled. The silver lining is that 9 months later I found myself toeing the line of an official half-marathon, where I ran a controlled and strategically sound race to PR on my earlier run of attrition by 13 minutes.

This January I spent the month struggling with the inclement weather, inconsistent training, and an incoherent inner voice. It seems like the bleak midwinter has gripped me with its bony fingers and is making life just hellish externally and internally. I am on the brink of turning thirty years old, and though I am not one of those "I am getting old" people, I see this birthday as a mile post of my life. A point where I am reflecting on where I have been, where I am now, and where I want to go. This dreaming, combined with the economy and the stress of having two youngsters AND living in a space far too small for rambunctious boys has just put me in a rather unpleasant state of mind. This has wreaked havoc on my spiritual life, too, bringing some serious belief issues to the forefront once again.

This blog is about running and life, but mostly about running, so I am a bit wary of sharing my spiritual history. With this said, let me say I grew up in the church, went away for a while, came back, went into ministry and attended Christian seminary (you know, the one where you CAN get married and enjoy the benefits), became even more skeptical of religion upon spending one year studying theology and holding a minor leadership role with a congregation, and now am basically a seeker who has MANY, MANY more questions than answers. I believe in something more, but I have a hard time believing there is only one path. You might disagree, and that is fine, I am not here to tell anyone about religion, but in these moments of hardship and inner strife, I have been wanting some comfort that I am on the right path. What I do truly believe is that our lives are based on a purpose, and we are here to live, love, and learn.

One quote that has helped...

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him." - Buddha

This past January has been a month of being a result of depression, doubt, and anxiety. As far as running goes, this month has been one of similarity where my mental image of 'Rob as a Runner' has been a little like this:

And I think I need to be thinking more like this:

Sunday marks a new month, and Monday officially marks a new year for me. All I can do is greet each day with a few notes of peace, possibility and positivity, and let things happen as they may. I may have to re-arrange my personal goals, but I find when I am guided by the opportunities that arise, instead of what I try to force into existence, I arrive right where I am supposed to be. Whether it amounts to 2 miles a day, my aim is to get out each day and enjoy whatever I am capable of in the provided moment.



Dan said...

Rob, I was running on the trails in breakheart today, sans snowshoes, and I realized we haven't talked in a while. I guess running in the snow brought back memories of our Christmas jaunts! Anyway, hang in there and just run when you can. It's been a tough winter. I have been running less than 20 miles most weeks. Only one more really bad month to go. I hope!

Pathfinder said...


I understand your questions in life as I struggle with the same desire. I feel if knew my roll, it would be much easier to follow the right path.

The un-nerving job of searching and wondering seems to take a lot of energy that could be put to better use.

I found running to be a way for me to feel I have direction and purpose on a personal level, you know beyond what I do for the family and stuff.

Running is my personal time for letting my mind go think whatever or nothing. You are lucky you found running early, I didn't start until I was 46.....I missed so many good years.

The plus with me and running is it is a great guide to help me stay on a good path for my health. I require less outside influences like booze or costly activities and hobbies.

Don't get discouraged, this type of winter gets us all down.....just wait until that spring freshness kicks you in the butt and you gain new energy.....I am looking forward to spring running!~

robtherunner said...

I just read that Buddha quote the other day and it struck me in the same way, I think, as it did you. My thoughts are definitely one of the things I am trying to keep on the positive side. Keep questioning and you'll find the answers you seek.