Wednesday, May 2nd 2018. Winter felt extra long this year, but I think that’s how it usually goes. Regardless, it has made a day like today seem like a rare occurrence. A gift from above..something to be taken advantage of – 80 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze blowing through the streets of NYC. No doubt everyone will be eagerly dressing to show some skin, people’s attitudes overall will be elevated and human interaction will be on the rise. It is the kind of energy that has me busting at the seams wanting to lace up my sneakers and get out there to start kicking miles. The problem is I needed to eat, and I didnt get to do that until about noon, so I will have to wait another hour or so (12:48:34PM right now) before I digest my ‘Encino Man’ breakfast from Dimes.

I need to kill this hour, so I figured I would right about my anticipation and excitement for what I am about to do, run. Last night at OSR I pushed for 8.2mi, and as a result my legs a bit sore and my hips are a bit tight. Additionally, my upper body is still feeling stiff from some yoga I did Monday morning. Yoga was great, but apparently any variation in the daily routine requires some kind of a recovery period at 40 years old, lame. So today I am going to do one of my favorite solo loops, which is dubbed the ‘Midtown Run’ when I use it on Tuesday nights. This route is a great mid-day break from meetings, bloggings, postings and all the other day-to-day that seems to go along with managing OSR. I start by heading East on Delancey, towards the pedestrian overpass that takes you over the FDR, and drops you right under the Williamsburg Bridge on the East River Bike Path. The run up the East Side to 34th St, (where I will cut across town) is usually peaceful and feels very open on the wide, paved path. Not much pedestrian traffic this time of day so it is easy to slip into those deep thoughts that seem to occupy most of my time when running. It has been called autopilot, or a “runners high”, or whatever, but its that point in which body systems have seemed to balanced while in motion, the mind’s ‘panic’ reflex has subsided, and both mind and body seem to accept the fact that you are running. And that doing so may be a bit uncomfortable.

The body will kind of numb your senses to the fact that each and every step is a conscious decision to continue to create this perpetually increasing level of discomfort. It always interested me that while running, in a state of pain and at times extreme pain, the mind has the ability to reach a level of thought that doesn’t seem attainable while not-putting the body under this kind of enduring stress. It makes the run a utility, or a passage way, to reach a higher level of thought. The quicker I can manage to get myself there, the longer the amount of time I can dwell there and contemplate the things in my life which seem to need attention..and I can do so with a heightened sense of understanding and relevance thanks to my elevated consciousness. I realize that this may all sound very abstract, or maybe even overly dramatic, and if that is the case please take the time to understand that means you probably have not pushed yourself physically, or for a long enough period of time in order to get the mind and body to this elevated state. I highly recommend, if you have no clue what this state of mind and body feels like, to go out and start hunting it down, as a living organism you are entitled to it. You can do so by beginning to build your endurance on a bike or by running, and I insist you do it outside and in real life, not on some stationary bike or a treadmill. Don’t fucking kid yourself, it is not the same. It will take weeks, if not months, to reach a level of fitness in which you will be able to stress the body and mind enough to unlock this, but it is worth it. It is something that is embedded in each of us as a living breathing animal, beings that were designed to survive at all costs in an extremely competitive world. Many things we relied on for survival have laid dormant for generations as technology has evolved us into a very comfortable society, domesticated. If you take the time and energy to do something physical on a daily basis you can dig up experiences, emotions, and feelings that used to be a part of our every day when we were just animals, things that add to our balance. Just because we don’t have to run anymore, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Funny how now many believe it can only be achieved through $35 class passes and $55 instructional stationary cycling classes, like it is something someone just discovered. Fuck that sitting down while exercising, running isn’t exercising, it is a part of living. Human beings were designed to run, and if you didn’t run, you got fucking eaten.

Think about how many people you know in your life that would get eaten if the world was still like that. Many mother fuckers, I’m just saying, to deny yourself physical activity and the body’s response to that activity is to deny yourself part of the human experience. Not the act of running, but the mind and body’s response to the act. Over the years I have been asked one question over and over by journalists, documentarians, designers and brands, “Why do you run”. I think it is ironic because the answer to their question is found in the act of running. It can be explained but it cannot be understood without the first hand experience.

 

Image by Parker Feierbach from the OSR Red Hook Race 2017