How to explain to non runners the feeling of running when you hit the high note? A natural high, the body, nature, beauty, freedom, and low level flying.
This passed weekend I participated, for the second year in a row, in The Lamington Classic. This event, now 42 years old, is one of the oldest, if not the oldest trail runs in Australia.
Starting in the beautiful Green Mountains of South East Queensland, O’Reillys resort, day one is a half marathon across very technical (as in tree roots, rocks, mud, switchbacks, undergrowth, overhanging vines) trail, the first part of the Great Walk (a 50 km walk from O’Reillys to Springbrook), to arrive at Binna Burra on the Beechmont Ridge. Day 2, is the return run, this time slightly complicated by more uphills, and some already tired, sore legs. And the occasional hang over from too much cheer post race Saturday.
For 17 years I have been a dedicated runner. Rare are the days that I struggle to get out of bed to run. And in summer in Queensland, with the birds awake before 4 am, and full light by 4.30, getting out of bed to the dawning day is the best way to celebrate life.
The most amazing thing about running, as about most sports, is that you are constantly learning. While I certainly qualify for mastery in running at many levels, its beauty is that it can humble you in an instant. Reduce you to a shadow of your usual confident running self. In a heart beat. It can also surprise the heck out of you, and out of nowhere comes the place where you breath heaven.
Few people who do not run understand the reasons why we runners get so much joy from the experience. Pounding the pavement…day in and out. Year in and out. For everyone the reason why is different, but the themes are close.
Multiple reasons for me…the joy of movement, the opportunity to stay fit and in shape, the ability to eat chocolate cake without guilt, the camaraderie from running with others, the constant and ever increasing atunement to the body, to its conversation with you, the ability to see the world and run; that my body feels like singing when we run together (my body and I, when we really run in partnership), stress and anger release, time in nature, outdoors…all of these reasons and more.
I was explaining to a client that the precessional effects I have gained from running have far exceeded the cost of my commitment. Specifically, I get to tune into my body at a high frequency every day. To be clear, not all runners do this. Many don’t. They are the ones that get injured, fall apart, push too hard, break down. The addiction they have to running exceeds their common sense. Or, to be blunt, they simply don’t listen to their body, because it is speaking to them, as it is to all of us, every minute of every hour of every day.
Any masterful athlete knows that their body is an exquisite instrument, irreplicable… to be honoured, respected and above all, listened to. Our bodies speak constantly. But do we listen? And if so, do we act? Once again we find the battle-field of the ego and the voice of wisdom and truth. Most pay homage to the ego. Humility comes when we honour the wisdom of our bodies truth.
This, as well as our energetic system…informing us constantly…it really is quite amazing. The wisdom that resides in our cells, in our atoms, in our energy field. So strange that we even doubt it! Like a high definition tunable radio set, we can pick up signals of ever finer frequency. The older amongst us learn how to do this, as an art, because we had our systems numbed out when we were children, or were born without the skills. Many children today however, are born with all of their channels wide open. And simply no resources on how to block, protect, discern, and manage the signals. And rarely a parent or health care professional who would even consider that we have gone through a physical and energetic metamorphous that has increased our signal receptor ability to off-the-charts. Our children’s systems cannot cope, and they often get drugged, numbed or locked down. Autism, depression…on the rise…no mistaking the change in the humans ability to receive signals at ever higher frequencies.
As a runner, I have learned, am still learning, to tune in at a level most people don’t. This not only helps me stay fit, it allows me to tune into emotional energies. The field, whether it be Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field, or the akashic field, or the quantum field. Same field. Acute attention required. The signals are all there, all the time, just like radio signals are always present…they just need the tunable set.
Come Saturday, Day 1 of the Lamington Classic. Relaxed, running with two girl friends, plan to run together. I am by far the most experienced trail runner. I lead. First 7 kms is gradual uphill, so just a steady grind. Then it gets very technical, and downhill. My body has not been feeling sparky the last few weeks when I have run. Like that box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…so best just to show up and have a go. Not today. I am flying down those trails. I am in love with love, and trails and running and mud, and being deep in a jungle. For a little while I wait for the girls to catch up. But at some point I just go for it. It is too much fun, there is too much rhythm going on. I feel as free as a bird, and happy as a pig in mud. My physical and energetic body showed up today. Yeh baby! And I am in my element. Downhills, trails, technical. Requiring 100% pure focused attention. A single lapse and you are gone. No time to see the view, the trees, or anything but the path in front. This is where it becomes you, your body, your breath, your foot strike, and nothing else…nothing, not a thought, not a thing…no room. I am not good at sitting meditation, but I sure can run. Woohooo…this is life…this is it..right there…hurtling down hills of mud and rocks in the deep jungle.
At some point with about 5 kms to go I get a bit wobbly…low blood sugar…should have had some fuel on board. Have to take it extra carefully. It is the brain that falters before the body, blood sugar to the brain and lapses in concentration. By the time low blood sugar hits the body it is well advanced.
Last few kms and I trip and mildly sprain my ankle. My formula for this, learned over years of running, is to keep running. Have to slow up a bit, but definitely don’t stop. Years of doing this and I never suffer even mild swelling afterwards, when I finally stop. How remarkable is the body?
Home…wonderful feeling…crossing the line…then turn around and go back to meet the girls as they come in.
The afternoon spent with way too much merriment, and then the sleep of someone who has run hard. The kind of sleep people would pay good money for. The sleep of fresh air, outdoors and hard physical exercise.
The next day, just Fiona and I, as Donna went home late in the day of day 1. We grind the hills, pretty much all up hill until the last 7 kms. Then open it up. Yiiipppyyy. Home straight, downhill, the joy of low level flying through the forest. Full focus required, as body is well and truly tired by now. Muscles sore, energy system starting to lag..
Ah the joy. Pushing just a little into the red zone. Not too much. But enough to know you have done a great job.
Cross the line…and we are done.
A hot shower, followed by scones and jam and cream, and a session feeding the magnificent Rosella’s, before we hit the road for home. Birds on my head, my shoulder, my arms, loving their beauty, and that I can be privileged to be so close to such magnificent creatures.
Every ingredient to make a wonderful weekend. Good friends, great running, beautiful country, lots of laughs, excellent sleep, wildlife, mud, nature, beauty, and the joy of downhill trail running.