No, this is not about someone who has gone to their reward (unless you consider running a long way your reward) although if any of you feel the need to get your fix of death I’ll toss in a bit of a story at the end of the blog.
My long run yesterday was longer that I have run in any single session.
I covered 27.1 miles yesterday before mid-day. It would have been longer but, alas, I am the Cinderella of the Sunday morning running scene.
My wife takes child no.1 to meet Holy God every Sunday for mid-day mass so if I’m not home before this my runners are taken off me – my glass slippers, if you will.
Now, if you are one of the ‘real runners’ who reads this you’re probably munching on a box of raisins between 30k back-to-back evaluation runs at half-marathon pace and shrugging your shoulders thinking: So what?
But if you’re one of the muggles who reads this blog because it is mildly entertaining, mildly entertaining the way a korma is mildly a curry, then you should be saying: Fuck me, more than a marathon before mid-day and I hadn’t even scratched my balls – the guy is a God (or completely crazy).
I tried to do most things right on this run. I ran pretty slowly. No, make that really slowly. I ate plenty of food: Rice Crispie squares (100cal), Kinder Bueno bars (230cal), a banana milk (300cal), a pot of banana custard (160cal), an energy gel (100cal) & a bottle of energy drink (150cal). I know, it sounds disgusting when you write it down but at least I was able to eat it. Normally you’d be retching. I took walking breaks while eating, even when I didn’t think it was necessary.
I did everything except piss in my shorts (I’m saving that trick for my sub-3-hr marathon attempt ;-)).
So that was a good day out. It capped out the week with 52 miles of running (that’s loads for my legs).
The surprising thing about the run was that afterwards (and today is the same) I had no DOMS (sore legs to muggles) and I had this strange feeling of peace.
I suppose the peace comes from a combination of two things. The first thing is the physical exhaustion leaves you generally moving more slowly and more gently. The second is the complete mental acceptance of what you have done or are about to do. The thousand yard stare.
In the late 1970’s/early 1980’s a guy called James Shapiro ran across America and recorded it in a book called meditations from the breakdown lane. Now, the book is no Pulitzer but, like Jupiter’s Travels it is the sort of book that can captivate you if you associate with the subject matter. The one thing he has to deal with is the reality of getting up every day and running 40 – 50 miles. The way he deals with this is to remind himself that it is nothing more than a job of work. Something that has to be done. In accepting this he is able to achieve a seemingly impossible task.
Yesterday I got a peek behind the curtains into this world of acceptance and it has left me deeply at peace.
I think that is what most people are really looking for in life – some sort of inner contentment.
The only down side to this inner contentment is that if you don’t pay attention you’ll be killed on your bicycle cycling home from work (as I found out twice this evening).
Anyway, my near nirvana experience segues nicely into my story on death (or being ‘At peace’ for those who don’t like the D word).
Today, well, this morning, I was hanging out the washing on the line after the kids had returned to school. I was wandering (makes my garden sound big, doesn’t it) back up from the bottom of the garden and I spotted a small furry thing on the grass.
It was a shrew.
A dead one.
I have never seen a shrew, nor knew we had them in Ireland.
Anyway, later on, after tea tonight, me and the 5 year old and the 3 year old wrapped him in a piece of kitchen towel, dug a hole for him beside the wendy house in the back garden, dropped him in and said a prayer for him.
I hope he’s at peace as well.