Friday, May 30, 2008

Soar Feet and a Wandering Mind

I am a little delayed in this post. I ran Tuesday and came a little undone.

More on that in a moment.

After running the Tuesday before, I took what turned out to be a week off to nurse the pain in my right foot that had begun over the weekend. By Memorial Day I was brimming with energy and used it at the local water park with my family. The foot was only a minimal nuisance which put it at about as good as it ever gets.

The next morning I knew I'd be ready to go.

When the alarm went off at 4 AM there were already hints of trouble. "That's OK," I said to myself of my early morning weariness. "A week of sleeping in has made you a little soft."

I did begin to suspect that I may need to forgo my normal Tuesday speed drill and just be satisfied to be back on the trail.

My wife got up and I delayed my departure in favor of our now regular and very enjoyable early morning conversation. As a result I arrived at Kennesaw Mountain around 5:40 AM. My car was the first to park on Old 41.

"Slackers," I thought smugly to myself.

I was feeling more soreness in my foot than I expected so after crossing Stylesboro Rd. into the park I did a couple of the stretching exercises I'd become accustomed to over the previous week. I had found good information at the Mayo Clinic website and from a book I had browsed through a couple of days before and then promptly forgotten the name of.

A man went by, walking his dog. The man never looked at me. The dog never took its eyes off me. I said nothing. They were headed up the mountain. I was headed around it. They were the last living things I saw until I returned from my run.

I started off remembering that I was abandoning my...

My new shoes were loose. I stopped after only taking about 10 strides and tightened both laces.

My old shoes had never given me a blister or a single reason to complain. They had taken me from counting paces starting out with only a 10th of a mile while healing a wounded knee to as much as 24 miles in a single run over the course of about 6 months.

I had read on the Mayo Clinic website that a pair of running shoes would be good for about 400 miles. I had logged almost 900 miles in a half a year. At my current pace I'd be going through a pair of shoes every couple of months. Continuing to increase my distance would be an economic decision from now on.

I'm sure the Mayo Clinic was overstating the problem.

Anyway the Plantar Fasciitis had only been a mild inconvenience...

...this time.

The pain in my foot was mild and I set into an easy gate. There would be no speed records today. It was good to be back on the trail.

I ran in front of the Visitor's Center and was a little miffed at the effort required to push up the hill to where the actual trail exited the trees on my right.

My foot was slightly pained but my legs were fresh. I came to the point where the trail merged with the trail that came down from the paved road up the mountain in about 5:40. Not extremely fast but much better than I was expecting.

Without a big challenge ahead my thoughts began to drift. My most common musings involved nature and my place in it. Many of my ideas were played over and over cementing themselves into the background of other less common ideas.

On a run long ago I had come to think of nature as a compartment in which we exist. All that we understood to exist, the limitations we experience and all the mechanisms we establish to cope are part of nature by this definition. Even our bodies were subject to the laws and therefore belonged much more to nature than to anything that I could consider to be "me".

As I ran, I began to put this idea to the test. If nature was a compartment then it bore no ill will toward me and in fact bore no ill at all. The pain in my foot and the tiredness in my overly refreshed body seemed to indicate otherwise.

As the mountain and the trail and the trees stood by indifferently the pain began to increase a little. I definitely needed to call my podiatrist today.

My foot hurt but not to badly. It also moved on in indifference obeying the commands that I effected on it through the simplest connection I had with nature. The connection that ended at the edge of my physical being.

The compartment was indifferent and my existence inside it is temporary.

If the compartment was temporary then there was no need to get angry with God. Any pain in this compartment would not carry on to that which is outside. The pain was the foot on the body that was part of nature. Outside the compartment was new and inconceivable. Confuoudingly, even no outside it is inconceivable.

It is said that there must be an outside because we've imagined an outside. Now we've imagined no outside. What does one do with that?

I approached a small but steep hill that rose up along the back of a neighborhood. My agony was not increasing so I ran on. Now I was slowing and was nearing the 10 minute mile pace. At the top of the hill I increased my speed.

How long it took for that speed to laps I do not know. I had again drifted into contemplation.

I had recently read a biography a person had posted about himself on a running blog I visited from time to time. He had begun by suggesting others might want to do the same. The one point I had remembered was that he had said, "I believe in a creator, but not the ones the religions teach."

I thought about the compendium of minds that had considered the gods the religions teach. The depth of sincere devotion given while each mind stood at the edge of the abyss. At the edge of that which is outside. How each mind had built on, modified and discarded the thoughts of the minds before.

Here was a man who off to the side had managed to come up with a better version. How had he considered such a compendium and then come up with his own better version?

I was aware that no one had responded with questions and presumed that they, like I, was suspicious that he had the wherewithal to have truly done such a thing...

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    You said "Even our bodies were subject to the laws and therefore belonged much more to nature than to anything that I could consider to be "me".

    I never really thought of it that way till now. We are just renting these bodies we inhabit currently....Wow! that is exactly what I needed to hear tonight. That thought makes me want to take care of what I have been lent.

    Found your blob thru Guts. Really enjoy your writing. Please keep it up. I thought that I was isolated in the way I felt.



    Patrick (Acworth Ga.)