Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Me

My photo
Mpls, MN, United States

Reading & Recently Read

Incidents & Accidents

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In- and out-of-body experiences

So one of the reasons I gave for training for my first marathon was the desire to live in my own body. As an NF, I tend to live in my head--which means I do from time to time walk into walls, so intent am I upon my own thoughts. Running was a way for me to become aware of my body as more than just a vehicle to move my thoughts from place to place--and a way to escape those thoughts when they became too pressing.

Marathon training is certainly a way to get in touch with one's body--mostly because the marathoner's body is so high maintenance. I can't feed mine ice cream, for example, the night before a run, or it doesn't work in the morning. It demands more sleep and more (healthy) calories and, especially with recent higher mileage, reminds me constantly of the stress I'm putting on my hips, knees, and feet. These days, it's hard to forget my body.

Another reason for training the first time was to get in shape, and to feel more substantial--to put some muscle on my bones. After Paul and Ter moved to Walla Walla, I had a hard time motivating myself to eat, and a friend suggested increasing my physical activity. To date, I have found no better appetite stimulant nor weight-gain plan than training--last time I put on 15 pounds! I don't have a scale this time, so I'm not sure yet how much I've gained. Granted, the primary weight-gain is in the bones, which become compressed and stronger, but I do notice muscle gain and definition in my arms, abs, and legs.

So, yes, I notice living in my body more. Today, after my 14, I am aware that my feet hurt. My legs hurt. I am tired. After last week's 18, I was on the verge of inexplicable tears all day, so great was my exhaustion.

But I've noticed that the running itself--the three hours I spent on the trail this morning, for example--particularly when done alone, tends to provoke out-of-body experiences. It's one thing to live in a marathoner's body before or after runs, but can be a little sketchy during. Sometimes, yes, it's wonderful. I've never had a high quite like the ones I've experienced running--a surge of adrenaline and euphoria that makes me feel strong and unstoppable and filled to bursting with surreal joy. But other times, much of the time, it's boring, painful, and feels like drudgery at worst, and a necessary but unpleasant routine at best. It's these times, when the scenery is just the trail stretching for miles through unending fields and my tired legs are keeping pace without input from me, that my mind goes ahead and takes off. It's a relief and a self-preservation tactic, really--who wants to live in a body that's tired and aching and sweaty? My mind, floating above my body, wonders just what this crazy girl is doing, on a road to nowhere in the middle of the prairie... and drifts away.

No comments: