wouldathunk the simple
of going for a run outside at sunrise would have become a special
In these astounding days of social distancing, self-quarantine and
isolation have become de rigueur. I can't ignore the dramatic,
degrading effects of denying my body natural exercise:
around the village, carrying boxes and bags to and from my car, going
shopping and traipsing around the supermarket aisles looking for the
produce on my provisions list. The gym and
closed. When those outlets for exercise shut, I needed to become
innovative in the interests of
I've begun practicing
I've added other floor exercises too to my daily regimen. Hiking and
running are also outlets for me. The long hikes I take around the
adjacent hundreds of acres of cattle pasture (with its owners'
permission) afford me valuable time for reflection, consideration,
inquiry, as well as the simple, pure benefit of a good, wholesome,
outdoor aerobic boost. For us here in this valley in which we live, we
have a choice: the luxury to exercise outside, or not.
People I know in other places like
aren't so fortunate. There the lockdown is so inclusive that even going
is banned, exceptions allowed only for trips to food stores and
doctors' consulting rooms. When I speak with friends and family there,
I recreate that guy in New York City who has the twenty three foot wide
balcony. He runs up and down its width, up and down, up and down ...
until he's run a marathon - some twenty six miles. You can do that if
you have time to do it - and what else is there that we have plenty of
in a lockdown except time? There's no excuse. That guy in New York City
has inspired more than a few people in
and jog around their back yards' perimeters, around and around, around
and around, getting much essential if not unorthodox exercise.
So as I kneel, lacing my Brooks Transcend 5 running shoes,
I'm well aware of the special luxury it is to be able to head out for a
run through the quiet lanes of my country neighborhood - which
ordinarily is nothing special. Special? To go for a
thunk? Then, just as I close the door behind me, it starts
My first thought is "Oh no!", and I turn to go back inside ... then
my own word, speaking louder than that thought, says "We said
we were going for a run
yes?". "Yes" I agree, turning again, down Hillside Drive, the
cascading onto my face, running in rivulets over my cheeks, down my
neck, and into my T-shirt collar.
At first, it's a distraction - not to mention very cold and wet. Then
as I pick up speed I notice it's less and less of a distraction: it's
I play with this distinction: "I'm running but it's
- now it's a distraction; "I'm running and it's
- now it's no longer a distraction: it's just what's happening.
Soon, as my heartrate rises and my body starts warming up, it's no
longer cold either: it's just
or its temperature. The
is actually cooling, cleansing, soothing, refreshing, not to mention
it's an incredible gift to all us Californians in our
drought, none of which I notice when I let myself be distracted by it.
Then I notice something else, something I'm wowed by: it's all
The cold and the wet? They're all just
And I can run with the
yet regardless of them. What a model! My word is "I'll run" not "I'll
run if it isn't
nor "I'll run if it's not cold": it's just "I'll run.". Wowed, I
notice that's exactly what's happening. My shoes are splashing in and out of
puddles. My T-shirt, shorts, and socks are sodden, dripping wet,
clinging to my skin. On another occasion, those would have been good
reasons to stop, or to not start at all in the first place. Today there's
just running ... and
... and my word in the matter.