001: I ran 13.1 miles

Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles. 
by JR

A half marathon, something I never thought I'd do. 

Because I "hate" running. 

I find it boring, monotonous, drowning in a sea of my own thoughts, suffocated by the plodding of my feet on the pavement. 

In pain all over in various different joints. Comparing myself to everyone else who seems to be an elite athlete.

That's all until I changed my approach and stopped trying to run fast and run far. 

Thanks to George's guidance who's had his own awakening with running, I started to just enjoy the process. 

I decided to stop trying to run (stop thinking about running) and just run.

"Run 2/10 effort" he kept saying to me. 

"Run 2/10, just run to feel good. Who cares about time? Who cares about distance?"

My focus shifted from running for time, pace or distance. To just running for fun, for freedom, for life. 

It wasn't easy starting there. My first 10 runs were tiny, (I think anyway as I didn't track them and ran with no phone or watch). 

And I was completely in my head all the way around. 

"What's the point?"
"I'm in pain"
"I can't do this"
"I'm unfit"
"I'm not a runner"
"I'm going to end up a skinny rake"
"When is this over?"
"How long left?"
"Ok if I'm here then it's about this long left, not long now"
"This person is so much faster than me"

All thinking, all negative, all destructive thoughts. All suffering created from my own stories and internal dialogue.  

All wishing the time away, removing me from the present moment, taking me into the past of how I used to be, or the future where I wanted to be. All to avoid the present. 

"One foot in the future, one foot in the past, pissing on the present." - Can't remember who. 

Then, slowly, whilst running 2/10. Moments of presence and connection to myself and the world around me began to emerge. 

I noticed the Robin in the bush, I felt a wave of emotion, I felt my feet on the floor, I noticed my breath in and out. 

Even if only for a fleeting moment and the rest of the run was thinking, presence was there - I found it. 

After a few months, the limiting beliefs of "I can't do that" or "I'll never run that far" began to erode. 

I'd notice that those thoughts are just...thoughts. 

Instead of ruminating on them, I'd just run a little bit further. I'm not a runner. I run. 

Self-doubt and old stories started to fade away, they're still there, yet they've been pushed aside. 

Some runs I'd notice more thinking, darker thoughts and that was OK. Some runs, for the first time ever, I genuinely enjoyed every moment, freedom, play, nature - what's not to like?

Slowly a quiet confidence and curiosity has emerged. "I wonder how far I could run?"

It's not a judgement, it's light, it's a question, it's intrigue. It's completely different to the old rigid egoic mindset of "I want to run a marathon in less than 4 hours"

"I wonder how far I could go?"

7 miles, that was tough. 
8 miles, that was new. 
10 miles, wow double figures! I felt elated. 

Then yesterday 13.1 miles. A half marathon, I've ran a half marathon! 

No music. Just me, the snow, the blue skies and my thoughts. 

The big difference is that I'm noticing my thoughts and coming back to the present. Like a long meditation and I'm not forcing suffering by pushing my body unwillingly. 

 It's big for me, because this approach is a metaphor for life. 

Enjoy the process, enjoy the moment. Detach from the outcome and you'll go further than before. 

With this approach, I wonder how far I could go?
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