The Ramblings of a Marathon Training RunLeave the first response January 27, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Running, Oz On Marathoning
A Marathoner’s Stream of Conscious
To me, it’s always been a time when I get to see how close my thinking and doing are in harmony. The marathon has continually afforded me the opportunity to see how long I can stay in the present. I get to see how I did on that day, in that marathon under those conditions.
Marathoning is about bearing witness publicly to the individuality of the marathoner. The marathoner travels as George Sheehan so aptly put it, the path of hero, poet, saint, philosopher and athlete. On the field of Marathon, for each man and woman doing and being are one.
Marathon comes from Marathreum which is the Greek word for the herb which covered those plains in the spring. “Fennel.” Marathon’s about friends, food and community.
In the marathon we come up against ourselves.
The real Marathon is called Life. In the Marathon, commemorating the victory of the Atheneans over the Persians, we get to practice the endurance lifestyle. The hero, poet, saint, philosopher and athlete offers thanks for the opportunity of living a “no excuses” life.
For some the marathon can become the excuse for escaping from one’s job or one’s relationships. In the area of work, it’s interesting that the word “job” comes from the Anglo-Saxon and means a “lump.” 200 years ago, people were saying that in this industrial revolution, people cannot do a “lump” of work. Man was meant to work. And whatever his work, it has to have a purpose…be it building the town center, feeding the village, constructing the cathedral. And now 200 years later we are afraid of losing our “lumps.” For others the marathon, is about living and doing and being…in everything.
For those practicing mindfulness, where else can one go for 3 to 6 hours and be in the present and observe….breathe, smile and see the interdependence of all that exists on the big blue marble. One is able to see how well one is practicing.
In Zen and the Art of Archery, the Master told his student. There is no need to write me. Just send me several pictures of yourself in the shooting position and I will know how you are. So too in marathoning.
I went to run a marathon and discovered that life is about doing.
It is interesting that the word “act” comes from the Latin, ago, agere, egi, actus. And that Latin verb means to “do.” So if you act, it means you’re doing and not just pretending.
Acting like a marathoner means training like a marathoner. And training like a marathoner means doing what marathoners do. And doing what marathoners do, means being consistent. And when one is consistent what you do and how you act are the same.
Marathoning is learning to be sincere. That is “sine cera” or without wax. When Roman sculptors chiseled a fine piece of statuary, if they made a few chisel marks too deep or a scratch, they would take dust from their work and mix it with wax and then putty the compound into the ding. So where you see someone who is for real, or “sine cera” you are getting someone without wax.
Marathoning is a dance. You can do it gracefully or clumsily. Go for the grace.
To those who ran their marathon this past year and those preparing to run their marathon this year, we salute you. What ever happened or will happen. Whatever you did or will do. What ever you felt or will feel, know that it was you who did it and those were your feelings. No one can take it away.
Whatever you felt as you were preparing for or doing the marathon, were really your feelings. For many in has been their first experience of being in the present…and knowing it…for the first time.