The Heartbeat of Presence
This morning, I decided to try something different. Inspired by a book I'm currently reading - "The Power of Now", I embarked on an experiment of deep presence during my run. The book suggests focusing on a part of our body as a practice of presence, not to observe but to actually be in. I chose my heart - the literal beating center of my being.
I laid in bed last night practicing this as per the book's guidance. I relaxed, focused on my heart, and something extraordinary happened. It felt as though I was not just observing my heartbeat, but existing within it. It was a uniquely fulfilling experience, a profound connection with myself that I had never consciously pursued before.
As I ran back from school drop this morning, I tried to replicate the feeling. I focused my entire attention on the rhythm of my heart. It was as if I could perceive the energy within me, pulsating through my veins with every heartbeat.
Maybe because I was running, It wasn't a particularly difficult task to concentrate on my heartbeat, but maintaining that focus was. I managed to stay with the feeling only for a minute before my mind began to wander, lost in the awe of the experience and back into thinking.
Yet, that minute felt like a lifetime. It brought me a sense of peace and clarity. The noise of the outside world faded away, leaving only the calm certainty of my existence in that moment. It was a state of calm that brought with it a sense of balance, setting the stage for the rest of my day.
As I grow older, running has become less about the distance covered or the speed achieved. It has become more about the connection, the love affair with moving forward, and the appreciation of how incredible this life is.
Procrastinated blog entry
I've been procrastinating all day about writing a blog post. Now, it's late at night, I'm exhausted, and my creativity has hit rock bottom. I know I need to write something, but the words simply aren't flowing.
Writing is already a challenging task for me; there's no need to make it any harder.
So my dear Luca, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
There's a unique beauty to the Australian winter that's hard to put into words, and it's even more pronounced where I now live.
Winter mornings here aren't just cold; they're refreshingly crisp. There's a freshness in the air that makes you feel alive the moment you step outside, your breath visible in the chilly air. The sky, a canvas of the purest blue, stretches out above you. This peaceful serenity offers a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life, inviting you to pause and take it all in.
And then there's the magnificent sun. In winter, there's seldom wind, no clouds to block its rays, you feel its warmth reaching through to your bones.
And it feels amazing.
But as enchanting as the days are, they're fleeting. By 5pm the sun has has already set.
I find I don't mind this at all.
Like a true Aussie, I've started to rise with the first light to make the best of the new glourious days, filled with promise and potential. And when I get to welcome the new winter day, by doing what I love the most, I feel truly blessed.
Trail Running vs Road Running Recovery
Saturday's long road run was a reminder of why I enjoy longer outings on trail a hell of a lot more: Recovery time!
Recovery might seem like a passive phase, a time for rest and rejuvenation, while in reality, it is an active process, a time when our bodies repair the damage done during the workout and grow stronger.
Trail running, in my experience, tends to have a quicker recovery period.
This might sound counterintuitive, considering that in the moment, running trails often feels harder. To me, trail running is a full body workout as I run over roots, rocks and ditches, shifting and adjusting continuously to adapt to the terrain and engaging every muscle in my legs, ankle, feet and core.
At the end of a long trail run, I feel an intense muscle fatigue, a sign of the effort expended and the work done. But it's a satisfying kind of tiredness, one that leaves me invigorated, not depleted.
In stark contrast, road running, with its repetitive and constant motion on hard asphalt, often feels more like a war of attrition. The repetitive and constant motion, the lack of variation in the terrain, the relentless pounding - it all culminates in an extreme inflammation of my leg muscles and an uncomfortable sensation in my bones.
I am not trying to give road running a bad rap, it's often mentally more comfortable to tackle than trails.
I guess I found myself unexpectedly more sore than I thought I'd be, and this sparkled the introspection.
So today I ran a marathon - luca style!
In the world of ultrarunners, the term "long run" takes on a whole different meaning. It isn't the distance that defines it as "long" but the time we spend pounding the pavement, the trails, and everything in between. It is closer to what a cyclist might call "long".
For me, any run that stretches beyond five hours qualifies for this category. These are not runs you can just "wing", they're often adventures requiring serious planning. The route, the terrain, the weather, the gear – it all needs to be considered. Do I need my trail shoes, or will my road shoes suffice? How should I pace myself? How much nutrition should I carry? Is there a water stop along the way? How will this long run fit into my overall training schedule?
And that's just the running part!
Most of us have more things to fit into life - the job, the kids, the family commitments to take care. At least for me, it's an increasingly complex balancing act.
After weeks of trying to squeeze in a long run amidst the chaos of everyday life, I am happy I made it happen today by combinaing a warm up, the Noosa Marathon event and the 5km Noosa race with the kids. Originally, I had planned to run home too but for different reasons that didn't happen - and I must admit I'm not too disappointed. I got carried away and ended up running a good portion of the marathon faster than what I initially intended, and I paid for it on the last stretch.
It was a good day out, and it may be worth a short blog as I learnt a thing or two worth sharing.
This almost long run, removes the pressure of another long outing before the BVRT 100 miles mid June. Unless I can wing one in between :D
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