Embrace Dragon, Run with Tiger: How Do I Embrace Running

2 Comments September 8, 2007 / Posted in The Running Mind

Sara wrote:

> I run because I like to do triathlons. I really don’t love it at all–any tips for learning to love this? Potentially, it’s the part of my training that could help me the most, but I just don’t get how runners can love it so much. I’m not injured, I run about 11-12 minute miles (just an age-grouper), and I try to get out 3-4 times a week. It’s a lot easier since I’m going out more frequently, by the way.
> Sara

Sara,

I started with running and must say that it has become part of my lifestyle. I’ve learned from my running that it is most influenced by my posture, and by the way I walk, stand, sit and move the 80 to 90 hours a week when I am not formally exercising.

When friends I had trained moved up to Iron Man in the early 80’s I started to train with them and realized that I didn’t like to swim and saw the injuries from their biking accidents. I just wanted to make sure that I could run with minimal or no breaks. So I settled into what it was I liked to do as my practice and discipline. Along the way I took up Yoga to be a more flexible runner. Then I realized that to move fast I needed to be able to move in total synchronized motion. That is when I took up Tai Chi. I had this intuition that if I could move with extreme slowness that was total body movement in unison, that I could run extremely fast.

My background is as a family counselor/psychotherapist who realized that the running and walking were just a metaphor for the rest of my life. So it is still lest costly to see me if we are walking or running than it is to see me if we are doing therapy seated.

So running is about being a good animal, as friend George Sheehan would say. It’s about living life fully.

Another hat I’ve worn for the past 21 years has been working as a Group Chairman for a company called Vistage International (formerly TEC)-an international organization of CEOs. I work one on one and facilitate a group of CEOs, company presidents and managing partners in helping to make them more effective and also enhancing their lives. So it comes down to a body/mind/spirit/business approach. Two great articles are in the Harvard Business Review, January 2001 edition: Jim Loehr on The Corporate Athlete and Jim Collins on Level-5 Leadership.

One of my sayings to people who want to value or judge something is to say:
It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is
It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it just is
It’s not positive, it’s not negative, it just is
It’s not useful, it’s not useless, it just is.

After doing marathons and realizing that the marathon had taken me through my rite of passage, I realized that in my running I was allowed to see where I am mind/body/spirit in living life fully and being in the moment.

It also allows me to see if I am taking care of myself the only way I can: mind/body/spirit since I exist in that totality.

So you have just created an article with me about running and some thoughts about embracing it. It’s not so much embracing running as it is embracing ourselves and seeing running as a practice that I do to do what I like to do more fully: Be alive.

So what you are seeing are how one person looks at life mindfully from the mind/body/spirit stimulation created from the simple act of running. Not running away from, not running towards, not running into, not running out of, not running fast, not running slow, just running. And in the process of running it has created an image that running is a dance. I can do it gracefully or I can do it clumsily. I have chosen to go for the grace.

You have been helpful by assisting me compile one at a time the articles I shared with rec.running and with runners over the past 30 years.Thanks for helping me move further along so I am a step closer to publishing/epublishing them in some kind of book form. I’m steadily putting them out in this blog for people to read at Mindful Running. They fall into a black hole unless someone knows they are there. So for me right now it’s a nice repository for holding them and being accessible if someone knows where to look. The network continues to grow slowly…one step at a time.

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  1. Arpineh said on September 18th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Great article! I’m thinking of going into psychotherapy myself (recent grad)and really enjoy running so I found your perspective on mindfullness very enlightening. Please post more.

  2. siobhan said on October 1st, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    It was really inspiring to read yo
    your reply to sara’s absence of love for running… I am a mother of 3 and a yoga teacher, for me it’s all about one’s attitude and approach to life that invites the love. How easily trapped we can become by our habitual needs and judgements. I say this knowing full well that ”easy as it is, simple tis not” I live in Jamaica with my husband and kids and as you probably know they are a nation of great runners, have you got any links here to spread your wisdom? Let me know otherwise I would be more than happy to help if I can to ”promote mindfullness” One Love Siobhan x

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