I thought I’d post this here, as I referred to it in my blog about the #TrailTeam2014 Selection Weekend. It was an article I came across in the ‘Ride’ magazine but changed it to suit my ‘running’.
Hope you enjoy! 🙂
I am my own vehicle.
Running transports me both mentally and physically. It acts as a social lubricant, a reason to go places and meet people. It’s belief is the totem of my tribe, the common denominator in the web of relationships and friendships of which I am a part.
Running allows me to live life in glorious lo-tech 3D: a part of the life around me rather than an observer looking in. When I run, I feel alive, I become a part of the landscape. I become aware of the weather through touch not sight. Sometimes it’s a brutal set of sensations: freezing hail biting at exposed flesh, headwinds that make progress painful. I do not need the TV to tell me it is cold outside when my face is numb. I observe the passage of time from my stride; note the subtle progression of seasonal change.
My companions change as each year passes but the underlying geography and the contact with nature are my constants.
I have come to recognise the precursors of each season and welcome the promised change. Winter and I have become close friends. I make the most of the quiet, dark trails, running, knowing that the varied elements will bring benefits to fitness, endurance and technique. I soak in the views opened up by clear cold air and leafless trees. I appreciate the fine line between tested and broken. I hope for snowfall, will it to happen even, while around me everyone awaits the ensuing traffic chaos with trepidation.
My running brings me closer to the earth. It gives me the nearest thing to a religious experience that I will ever experience. The much-sought moment of nirvana – no wind – is one that any runner can appreciate. Mind blank, lost beyond thought, simply moving. The moment the boundary between man and nature blurs. Not running, not training, just being.
My running has provided a reason to explore distant countries; a modern-day grand tour. Sampling and savouring the subtle differences of a familiar activity on foreign soil. My running has allowed me to interact with the places I pass through. Not the isolation of the tour group or the flickering snapshot views through a car window. It provides the time to appreciate the countryside I run in. I am instantly accessible and approachable, I see the everyday as well as the tourist fare. My running has provided a common language with which to make new friends during my travels. It has become a conduit to new experiences; a reason to take the path less travelled, to visit the back of beyond. It has fed my love of mountains and taken me to the wild places I dream of when back at work. It has helped me to explore my locality until I have the same familiarity of it as I had of my childhood haunts.
I have become a part of something far bigger than my local scene. Being offered ground-level knowledge and repaying that by sharing mine with friends, like-minded ‘barefoot’ devotees of a global tribe. I revel in the dispatches from far flung corners as much as I feverishly explore a new local trail. I have come to see the hints of green among the grey, my eyes attuned to the spaces where nature hangs on in cities. I can think in maps, and mentally link them together to provide an escape route from the drudgery of city life. A daydream to be realised in snatched moments. The juxtaposition of muddy footwear and runner amid everyday life. Freedom in the wild that hides among the conformity, the consumerism and everything that fills me with a sense of despair. My running provides me with a means of transport, recreation, relaxation and of escape. Running has allowed me to see the future. I do not fear the lack of a car. I am happy to travel under my own steam. I am independent and proud.
I am my own vehicle.