Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oms per Mile

While there are a lot of trade offs with surrogacy, I mean, a LOT, it does come with its advantages. This whole two week wait thing, its a ton easier when its not you. I was thinking about this as I eked out a few miles on the treadmill last night and envisioned of the glass of wine I would have on the balcony after dinner.

Another thing I noticed while trodding along at the gym was that the person next to me was making some hand gestures every few minutes. Further inspection: it was the sign of the cross. It only took me a few more steps to realize he was actually saying the rosary* as he ran. Praying while he ran.

Now, you know I'm not the praying kind (although I heartily welcome and accept and embrace any prayers that might be happening out there for us and the little bud), but my fellow runner's actions really struck me. What an efficient use of time! I wondered if he was praying for anything specific. Was this his routine? Did he use his prayers to give him focus as he ran, or the opposite, to pull him away from his bodily thoughts?

I've been reading books by athletes lately (Brendan Brazier, Scott Jurek) and I've been debating this one here on running and meditation, but I wasn't quite there yet. Wasn't sure how practical it would be, or if I even wanted to give up my techno mixes for some greater enlightenment.

But my neighbor at the gym last night - he made it seem so effortless. Counting off the prayers as naturally as if he were exhaling.  I could do that.

My usual M.O. when I run varies. Sometimes I plot out my day, think through any meetings or conversations I need to have. I write blog posts in my head. Sometimes I just sink into the repetitive beats. when the going gets tough I talk to myself - this twisted combination of cajoling and castigating to get a few more steps in. From: C'mon, m, you got this, you're doing GREAT!....Descending into: dude, stop being a p*ssy. Run. It's not rocket surgery. Just do it. When I'm feeling unusually cruel, I match my steps to some greater prize. Ok, m. if you can make it to the bridge, everything is going to go ok in this next cycle. If you don't....well, no baby for you.

Cruel. I know.

Which makes me think, maybe a meditation route is the kinder, more constructive way to go.

Fellow runners (walkers, exercisers), what's on your mind when you run? Do you pray? meditate? plan? write? daydream? How do you spend your miles?

*Rosary: it's a Catholic thing. String (or ring) of beads, each signifying a series of prayers.


Nadine said...

Well, I read ultra marathon Man and Born to run, which i both enjoyed (well actually I LOVED reading born to run - makes you want to run even more!), have more on order at the library (yeah I don't buy books, just library books for me). Will look up this running/meditation book.

Prayers, well, I lean towards atheism (which I recently said at a bbq and people get weird about it - apparently atheists freak people out). No god in the sky for me, I'm of the spiritual persuasion (especially spirit babies, those I believe in, reincarnation etc). So, obviously I don't pray when I run.

But, I always always run outside(no matter the cold or heat - heat I like), and for the past 6 months it has been on trails (all very busy trails that are safe) but there is lots of nature, birds, butterflies, snakes, frogs, ducks. Nature to look at. So generally I cruise along, looking at nature, and I do point out things to the twins in the stroller, and I just listen to them giggle and talk and play in the stroller.
If I am alone, I Often bring a portable radio (it's from the 90s pre-ipod radio) and I listen to CBC (sorta like your NPR), lots of current affairs, news, political documentaries. I bring a back up tiny iPod of fast paced music if I'm feeling sluggish.
And that's it.
I generally don't do the self talk bit (my husband does self talk out loud of the "left those knees, you can do it, push it" kind). I can't run with him anymore, it makes me want to stop running and hit something - I guess its just a bad flash back to gym class.

I'm glad your keeping busy during the 2ww. Although no praying here I am sending warm thoughts to your wee little spirit baby/babies.

m said...

I have so many comments on your comment!

I am seriously digging the running books and now that we know a big belly isn't in my near future and P90X is done I am looking forward to getting back into it in a more regular way. Thanks for your recommendations, checking out the library stock now - we too are mega library geeks. We give every year to their annual fund because we started feeling guilty about how many books/CDs we borrow.

I tend towards atheism as well and it def freaks people out. So I try to avoid that convo and just nod politely when people tell me about their own persuasions. Most of the time I actually am interested, but when it gets preachy or into "you know Jesus said..." territory, I shut off.

I love the visual of you and the twins finding your way through the forests. I am hoping I get to come to you soon for jogging stroller recommendations.

Talk radio as you walk - never tried that! M swears by his favorite talk podcasts for his daily lunchtime walk. Maybe I should think that through. Its hard to stray from regulated beats per minute once you have them, I think. For me it is.

This one day, I tried to jog to my favorite (Canadian!) dubstep DJ....big mistake. It just, um, didn't work.

I can't even dream of running with M. He hates it. Even though he was a state finalist sprinter in high school (little known fact). He can't envision it being something done for fun. And as I've already mentioned here, he laughs at my pace. I can do without that.

Definitely keeping busy. And I will take those warm thoughts.

One last thing: I am so down with the idea of spirit babies, but cringe when someone calls I or J "angels." How does that work? Maybe it was my mom's visual (laughing and giggling together on tops of flowers) that ruined it for me.

Yes, definitely ruined it for me. My girls are strong and powerful. Bodiless spirits. Not little wood nymphs off of a bad garage sale painting.

I too am hoping a spirit baby finds his/her way to us in corporeal form soon.

Michele said...

The concept of prayer beads is actually common in many religions. It's neat to see all the different variations.

I pray when I run sometimes, especally on my double digit runs where I know I need to be in a special hedspace. Sometimes they arent even formal, just the Great Spirit and I having a chat.

Heather said...

I read this just before I set out for a run so I worked hard to be conscious of my thoughts. So much for that. My mind is scattered when I run. Today it went from grocery lists to what I want to do this week (not working), to what my new job will be like, to nothing at all. Then at the end, when the sun came out and I was going up a long hill I kept thinking, 'hot - keep going - hot - keep going'.

Interestingly, my mind was very focused in the months after our son's stillbirth. I would say his name in my head with every step I took, and if my body was tired and sore it made me want to run even more. I think I liked the physical pain then. It masked the emotional pain quite well.

I have a middle of the road In Step jogging stroller. I love and hate that thing. I can run more often with it, and there is no better soundtrack to run to than a toddler singing. But we have a lot of hills, and pushing it into the wind is a b*tch, and sometimes the kid doesn't want to be there and just screams and I get evil stares from passersby. I'm sure a BOB or some other model would be much better, but we are nearing the end of our jogging stroller days, and I refuse to even look at the fancy ones.

I hope you are shopping strollers soon.

And I HATE the angel baby idea. I have babyloss friends that get teary eyed when they tell me that our babies are playing together in heaven, and it makes me cringe. But I love these friends, so I try to fake a warm smile.

E said...

I really love that you asked this question. I always ask people what they think about when they run because I usually suffer through thoughts of "I hate running. This is horrible. Should I stop? No, there's no good reason to stop. My legs don't hurt, I'm still breathing, no cramps, there's no excuse. I can't stop just because I'm lazy. This is horrible, this is horrible, this is horrible". Which obviously leaves no room for enjoyment. I have recently found that I like to listen to slow music (Fleet Foxes, Wilco, Bon Iver, etc...) when I run, which everyone that I have told completely scoffs at. I just need some peacefulness, with a little distraction of trying to listen to the words. Maybe I'll try this meditation thing, I think I need it! My yoga teacher was talking about a book called Chi Running that changed the whole thing for him, I'll let you know if it does me any good!

m said...

michele - the great spirit and I having a chat. I LOVE that. Love it.

heather and E - maybe I wasn't clear how often a hybrid of "hot - keep going - hot - keep going" and "this sucks this sucks" infiltrate my thoughts as well. Ditto here.

Sometimes I run with my girl A, and while I don't always like to run with a partner, we're a good fit. We gossip. A lot. And that's a nice distraction and different from my solo runs. I think it's also helpful in other ways - if I'm talking, I'm not forgetting to breathe, which might happen sometimes.

Nadine said...

Yeah, I hate the term angels too, plus they're not angels, they're spirit babies who weren't ready for this world, so they're back in the spirit world (it's as touchy felly as I get, but that book on spirit babies was the best explanation of why people/children are attracted into your life and why sometimes there is a significant delay, and why sometimes they come through adoption or via surrogacy.

talk radio is good, especially on those long runs, I just get lost in the conversation and my legs keep moving on automatic. But man did it ever take a long time to get to that point.

I was thinking of you last night when i was running, it was super hot, even for me, 35 without humidity, 44 with humidity (which is like 95 without humidity, 111 with humidity). ANyway, I realized that I do do some self talk, along the lines of "I'll turn around at 3k and return home, and keep revising till I get to 4k".

I can't wait to chat jogging strollers...

Annie said...

Haha yes we do! And yesterday you were like my own like couch to 5k voice..."You are doing great"

Robin said...

I watch Kelly Ripa while I run on the treadmill. She is so funny and entertaining it makes the time fly by.

Anonymous said...

I sing hymns sometimes, but more often random kid songs -- "Shoo Fly" for example is on repeat lately. I have a little mantra from back when I was doing marathon training that I sometimes do when it's feeling rough.

I remember when I first started running I used to think that after a while it would become effortless. Ha ha ha ha ha. Instead it's gotten harder. But I'm so glad to be able to do it, both in terms of time and physical capability.

It keeps me sane, and sober, and feeling just a little hardcore.

Sarah H.