A runner's ramble
- Published on Sunday, 08 January 2012 18:42
- Written by Joachim van de Haterd
This is a gist of several ramblings that I intended to post on my blog, but never did. The reason is simple: these ramblings pop up into my head during long runs. When I get home, the moment is gone.
The runner's paradox
I can safely say that running is my most important hobby, and more. For me, it is a form of meditation, a way to escape the stress of everyday life and to transform any mental exhaustion into a more healthy physical fatigue.
However, I have long given up on trying to find any good blogs on running. As thoroughly as I love it, there simply is not so much to write about it. Of course, there is anecdotes (I can get you some, but I won't), and training blogs (statistics and training schedules, yawn) but there appears to be little to say about the philosophical aspect of running. Either that, or runners are simply no writers.
It is a pity that something that helps me arrange my mind more than anything else appears to be the single most uninteresting topic to read (or write) about.
The green tunnel
This is the title of one of the Blog Posts I Never Wrote (tm). It refers to the view from my spot on the couch. In spring, I see dense layers of green, roughly forming a tunnel. When the sun shines, I am treated with a gorgoeus palette of greens and yellows, stretching for about 100 meters. With a view such as this, you do not need a television.
I have often mused on this mental image, mostly during runs. For me, it is more than a pretty sight. I know very well what's at the end of that tunnel: the outskirts of town where I do most of my runs. The emptiness stretches on for more kilometers than my physical condition allows for. On rainy days, I can be utterly alone for several kilometers, hearing nothing but the wind blowing through the reeds. I often yearn for this kind of tranquility.
However, there is more to this mental image than the promise of silence. The metaphor of the end of the tunnel is strong, but that is merely a small part of the mystery. I have pondered it, but I have concluded that I haven't found out yet. It's probably for the best.
Speaking of outskirts: I live in a flat, featureless land mostly formed by river sediments, and pumping away large amounts of water (...which is actually one of the technological marvels of my home country, and it makes me slightly proud). It is also mind-numblingly dull. To paraphrase comedian and fellow runner Dolf Janssen: if you look to the left, you are not missing anything whatsoever on your right.
There is a redeeming feature though. We have gorgeous skies. On a sunny, yet slightly overcast day, just an hour before sundown, beautiful skies can be seen. And since we do not have much landscape to worry about, there is very much sky to enjoy. Our drab country is suddenly being displayed in technicolor.
A final cogitation
Neither of the musings above is profound or insightful. I do not intend to them to be that way. This is what remains in my head when I am done putting away my thoughts on work and worries on eveyday life. I'd like to think of these musings as a form of meditation. During long runs, I empty my head, and suddenly I am enjoying what is left. That is what I want to share, and that is why I am writing this down.