TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Explanation

I run to escape (partly).  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I escape the past, and I escape the anticipation of the future when I run trails.  When I run trails I must stay in the present.  And the present is a good place.  It’s a FANTASTIC place.  If I don’t stay in the present, I could trip on a rock, fall off a cliff.  When I run trails, especially technical trails, the present is what  really exists.  The past and future only exist in the mind, and those places at times, cause me great anxiety. 

I read a book many, a MANY year ago,  called The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.  And from what I recall, it was about the devil’s nephew trying to entice a WWII vet into the “dark side” (for you Star War fans and for lack of better words on my part).  In this book, the devil’s nephew would often call on his Uncle the Devil.  And what I remember most about their correspondence was this:  The Devil constantly reminded his nephew to get this WWII veteran into the past or into the future, because “the present is where God is,” and “we need to keep him away from God.”  {Not direct quotes just memory}

I believe it’s true that the present is what’s real, and that running keeps me in the present.  On the other hand, running aids me in not dealing with the things I must deal with.  Things like: pursuing my writing career, dealing with a disrespectful tween, or even painting the yard gates. 

SO!  What does this all have to do with anything, especially my blog?  Well, first of all, I was beginning to experience major burn-out.  I felt tired.  I couldn’t get up in the morning.  And then, AND THEN, Bulldog 50k sold out before I could register!!!  That sell-out set me back into a bit of depression.  The morning after finding out about the sell-out, I woke at my usual 5:00 AM to run and I said F**** it.  I was in quite a downer for missing this 50k’s registration.  Especially after I had finally decided to make a go for it. 

This “burn-out” (utter fatigue without any repetitive injury – yeah! no reptitive injury!) coupled with my depression over Bulldog and the feeling that I’m running now for escape instead of health, plus my running friend Jeremy’s recommendation that I take a week off from running, I have decided to indeed take that week off.  That’s why you haven’t seen a blog since last Thursday. 

Let me say this:  LIFE IS TOUGH.  Sometimes it’s tougher than other times.  Sometimes, especially when I run trails, I can’t feel even an inkling of the life’s toughness (AND THAT IS WONDERFUL).  When the sweat pours, I’m in the present and the past and future doesn’t exist.  I’d much prefer to run up a five mile incline than face the pains and hardships of life.  The book that I’m reading (surprise, surprise), The Power of Now, basically states (so far) that our pain exists in the past and in the future, but not in the present.  I acknowledge that.  But I use the present to not deal with the future.  I couldn’t care less about the past.  The past is gone.  But the future . . . that causes a great deal of anxiety in me.  If you don’t live in So. California or perhaps you live in a place with similar circumstances – you may know about the economical hardships we are experiencing.  We see friends lose their homes, we see friends with no where to turn.  Like I said earlier, for us and those in our fields, life is tough!

Don’t get me wrong.  I have and have had a great life.  I have a home, a wonderful husband, 3 lovely boys and a new puppy.  But a break from running to get rid of this burn-out and also to face the things that I’ve been neglecting is something I desperately need. 

So, what am I going to do instead of running?  Am I going to finally paint the fence?  No.  I am not.  But I am going to pencil it in my calendar.  And I am going to find publisher/agents to send submissions.  (I already found one that I will send out by early this week).  And I am going to go to the gym and cross training daily, and I am strengthening my core and I am getting on a healthy diet. 

Am I going to focus on the past?  No!  Am I going to regret missing Bulldog?  Not anymore!  Am I going to worry about the future!  No.  No. No!!!  Instead I am going to focus on The Now, and I am going to currently work on my career.  (Yes, I have a career that I stumbled upon because I happened to get a bachelor’s of art some years back and several teaching credentials, it’s not giving us a substantial living income – though I love, love, love my job – I love writing more, and I need to pursue that).

Jeremy’s suggestion to take a week off seemed out of the question at first. Actually, it seemed absurd.  I commented on Facebook, “A week!!!”.  When I suffered depression from missing Bulldog, I realized that my friend’s suggestion more than a good idea.  It was an essential idea!! 

Thanks my running friend. 

I am still working out.  And though a week isn’t that long, I must cut my thoughts off at  night when I dream of running.  And I may also cut the week short.  But that would be all right.  What’s more important I think is to get a break for the REST and to GAIN PERSPECTIVE . . . gain perspective on Now.

Cheers! 

And Happy Running.  Because if it ain’t happy, then it ain’t worth doing!

ps,  a tribute to another musician:  R.I.P. Mike Starr : (  (Here’s to hoping you find peace, peace, peace, in the NOW and forgive yourself for the mistakes of your friend, Love,  someone who “knew” you, someone that you never ever heard of.  I think you were probably a good guy.)

pss.  I LOVE TO RUN, and it kinda hurts to take this week off!

13 comments:

  1. Oh, Lauren. I'm so sorry, girl. ::hugs::

    Hope the week goes quickly for you.

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  2. Hang in there my friend! Your attitude is right anyway. Sorry about Bulldog, I know how hard you've been training and what you've put in. There will be many races, don't get stuck on one. I love running as well! I can't imagine a week off...! Yikes! Every single run I do is a joy...even the bad ones. Take care and have a great week!

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  3. The week is almost up and you will feel great on your run this week. We are doing the wet n wild 5k on the 27th in Irvine. I know is not what you like, but it looked fun. http://www.wetnwild5k.com/Home.html.

    By the way you can register for the Saddleback Marathon now.

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  4. As hard as it is to take a week off, it sounds like you need it. My thoughts and love are with you!

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  5. Just be careful Lauren. As I found out, it's a slippery slope.....

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  6. Thanks Green Girl! All well. I am gaining perspective. : )

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  7. Thanks Glenn!!! I've got another Holy Jim to the peak this time, posted for end of August.

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  8. Definitely do need it. Thanks Jessie.

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  9. Jeremy, I didn't realize that the the 5k was on the 27th! Bummer. I hope you do great. But I hope you can make Santiago Peak too (I know that might be hard). Don't have the $$ to register for Saddleback marathon right now. Believe me, as soon as I can, I will register. Putting a countdown on my blog now!

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  10. Thanks Johann. I think I am fully recovered. Yesterday was much better. Today I got my swim in. I think I'm going to cut my week short by one day and get out there tomorrow. We'll see. : )

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  11. Finding something new is like finding an old lost friend who actually does like to play the accordion like you do. (or some similar obscure interest). It puts a whole new perspective on what previously was, otherwise, two dimensional.

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  12. Windnsnow! I ALWAYS like hearing from you. You always put a new perspective on things. I have this idea that you are totally mentally healthy. Thanks for reading!

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  13. ps. Windnsnow. To further expand on my comment, if you are mentally healthy, then I am not totally crazy. LOL : )

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