Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Zen and the Art of Running

Okay, let's be clear - I am not a runner.  I have been an athlete of sorts all my life, competitive through university and continuing for fun since then.  However, I play sports and the only running I have done has either been part of those sports (basketball and field hockey in particular) or as training for them.  Although I understand the benefits of running, I have never enjoyed it by itself.  When I ask people why and how they enjoy it, usually they respond with some craziness like 'it let's me turn off my brain' or 'I like being out in nature and appreciating the view while I run.' Really?  Your brain doesn't just keep noticing how heavy your legs feel and how bored you are?  Your eyes don't keep checking your watch to see how long you have to go until this monotonous activity is over?  Don't get me wrong, I know my body and mind need exercise to stay strong and healthy, and I love how I feel after I run (and actually how good I feel during most activities except running by itself)...I just have never understand the zen side of running.  Until Saturday.

Two weeks ago I began the Sun Run Training Program as a way to get back into shape after gaining a whopping 50 pounds with my second pregnancy.  What I know about myself is that I need people (other than myself) to whom I am accountable for showing up and following through on a fitness plan.  Perhaps this is why I mostly played team sports growing up.  Do I want to do a 10K race particularly?  No.  Do I think I can do it? Absolutely.  I have never doubted my ability to train and do most things, I have just never had the desire.  It won't be easy, especially 5 months after giving birth, but I am ready and looking forward to the challenge.

So along comes Saturday.  Week 2, run 2 of 3 this week.  Marc had taken Kai out for a long bike ride and I packed up Nico in the stroller and set out for what should be a pretty easy, short run.  I had not been in a good mental space for a few days, as I left my beloved camera in a taxi and obstacles kept stepping in my way of attending Mama Gena's Mastery Course.  I had just been Facebook conversing with some girlfriends who were sharing so many successes, and I was SO proud of them.  Yet it just made me feel like I was stuck and could not find a way through the walls that kept appearing in front of me.  So let's just say I was heading out on this run low on juice.  It was a very chilly winter day and the chill in my bones made me feel fresh instead of frozen.  As I headed towards a new neighbourhood, I actually started noticing interesting sights - like the cute little corner play area with benches, trees and a sandbox.  A great place to rest for future walks with my little ones.  Then I started finding that my mind was processing and slowing finding ways around the walls that had me 'stuck', without my focus on them at all.  About two-thirds of the way through the run I noticed that I had started trying to figure out how I was going to get these runs in when I had to go back to work after my maternity leave.  WHAT?!? Somehow my brain had decided that I was enjoying running enough that, without my willing it to, it was working out a future running plan?

For the rest of my run I truly began to see the shift in myself.  Running felt good.  I was out of my funk and starting to see possibilities where they never before existed.  I was appreciating the wonderful life I had that my entire family was out enjoying activity on this brisk day and would all return home refreshed.  When I returned home and was about to step in the shower, I saw a glimpse in the mirror of my pre-pregnancy body.  I was the same woman who left for a run an hour earlier, but who returned home to see a new version of herself.  Zen and the art of running...
My running buddy.


  1. Love this post, Christine! I ALWAYS enjoyed running, even though I had no talent for it. It's probably the thing I miss most since having these rickety old knees pack it in. You describe everything running meant to me; an escape from the blahs, a place to think, a time to remember to cherish what my body could do. Glad to see you found the zen and hope it continues to help you break down the walls that appear in front of you! Love you!

  2. That's awesome Chris! I am certainly stuck in the mindset you have at the beginning of this post! Perhaps its worth another shot. Love you! Oh, and also, your running buddy is cute.