Do you ever have those perfect days when you can almost feel the energy fizzing in your veins?
I had one of those this morning. It started with three flights of stairs at the beginning of a long hill walk. This morning those stairs looked so good I actually started to jog up them, well it was more of a jog with a little sideway wiggle in time with the song playing in my earphones. Just to make it clear, it is not normal for me to feel inspired to jog at all, let along up a three flights of stairs. But I do love those days of fizzing energy, when exercise becomes a joy and you feel completely in tune with your body.
After reading a book called Born To Run by Christopher McDougall I am wondering if rather than being a rare event that maybe those days could become everyday. Though I am not a runner this book is said to be a classic so I thought I'd read it. It really was the most fascinating book. The author (himself a runner, though one who did not feel like it came naturally and who was plagued with injuries) went looking for a famous but secretive Mexican tribe called the Tarahumara who are said to be the world's best distance runners. The story of his tracking down the tribe, researching into the origins of our species as running man, becoming a better runner himself and the finale of a race between the Tarahumara and the world's best ultra runners is equally intriguing and gripping. But what really caught my attention was the link he discovered, that the most common attribute the world's top ultra runners share is a capacity to love. As top running coach Joe Vigil says "the capacity to love and the capacity to love to running: both depend on loosing your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you want and appreciating what you've got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding." This means what separates the very best ultra runners from the rest is a certain joy, a love of life that allowed them to run up hills at the end of a fifty mile run with a smile on their face.
It makes me wonder if perhaps I could settle into a place of joy with life so that it didn't matter whether I was climbing a steep hill or wandering along on the flat. That either way I'd still feel that fizz of energy. And really if that was achievable then would it be possible to approach everything with that same joy?
I think that is a question worth contemplating.
Below is a Ted Talk from Christopher McDougall about what he discovered if you're interested.