Monday, December 24, 2012

Freedom and Flying

I read this quote recently (from a friend on facebook) and realized how strongly I identify with it!
I can't speak for anyone else, but at a certain point the experience of running surpassed in value, and by a pretty wide margin, my desire to make sense out of it. 
I don't know why I run. I don't know why I race. I don't know why I compete. I don't need to know. Because running means more to me than curiosity. It goes deeper than knowledge. I run. I compete. I move on down the line. I'm a runner. 
For us runners, the question of “why” is pretty moot. Not because it may not be interesting, or important, from a certain point of view, but because we’ve left the question of the meaning of running behind. 
After all the questions have been asked, and all the answers given, in spite of the disagreement on essences, physiology, rationales, training strategies, trail running, road racing, i-pod wearing, mid-foot striking, turnover cadences, arm carriages, Jack Daniels, Arthur Lydiard, 20 miles a week or 100, 5k or the 50k, whether it's really the Miles of Trials or the Trial of Miles, after all the words have been spoken and keyboards have been pounded, meanings given and ideologies subverted... 
After all this, we runners bend down and tighten the laces, open the door, brace for the cold and are renewed: another godawful, glorious, and meaningless 8 miler. 
- Jeff Edmonds The Logic of Long Distance
and accompanying this post was this picture:


I love that idea - "Aristotle's featherless bipeds" and how Edmonds goes deeper than that, since we are more than just "rational animals" -- or perhaps less-than; simpler.

Before my run yesterday morning, I posted this on Twitter and Facebook:
The cold dark morning-quiet streets call to me: 
"Come away, play, discover again you are body and soul"
& I'm reminded running is play
Not long after I started running, a friend (and very experienced runner) sent me a Nike postcard with a sentiment which has become something of a mantra for me:
Run.
Not because you are in a hurry,
or because you are being chased.
Just run. 
Back in 2010 as I was preparing for the Portland Marathon (my first, I ran it on 10-10-10) I read a poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley that literally moved me to tears because I so identified with it.

The poem still moves me to tears to this day, as I marvel at the person I've become, and truly enjoy the process of discovery as I am still becoming.


Song of the Ungirt Runners

We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
'Neath the big bare sky.

The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land. 

I am a runner.  And oh the joy & freedom I often feel when I run. It grounds me and releases me at the same time. I am a featherless biped, yet I am flying and oh-so-alive. Especially in the rain and wind!


~ Keith

2 comments:

Jeff Edmonds said...

I am glad you like what I wrote, and I hope you'll keep checking in on the Logic. You've got a good thing going over here.

Happy trails!

Keith Seckel said...

Thanks Jeff!

I look forward to checking out more of your posts, and I've added you to my reader feed, and blogroll.

Merry Christmas!