Patience with the physical is not my strong suit.* Standing in a line with more than three people in it at the grocery store at ten o’clock at night creates a mental anguish similar to that of losing an important document. Waiting for a pot of water to boil so I can make rice pasta? Forget about it; I eat raw foods not because I’m uber healthy, but because I hate waiting for food to cook.
The same notion applies to running. Yes, I love the act of moving my body, of my heartbeat accelerating, of my mind focusing. But how long it takes makes me want to groan a little bit even now just writing about it. Whether I am running during the week, or during a road race, I have one task at hand: Get ‘er done! I want to maximize my workout, but I also often just want to get to the end.
Running for the sake of running has been part of my life for two years and eleven months now (unless you choose to count the joke that is called junior high school running during PE class, which I do not), and for this whole time, the idea of stopping during a run for anything other than pain so severe I drop to all fours and whine like a poisoned pony has been unthinkable. During the Big Sur Marathon, I witnessed other runners taking pictures of themselves and their friends amongst the literally breathtaking vistas, with the famous concert pianist at the peak of Hurricane Hill, and at the finish line with the teenage athletes who were volunteering to untie shoelaces; and the whole time, I thought it was a imprudent waste of time. Get ‘er done!
But as a still newbie runner, I’m entitled to try new things. In fact, I hope to continue to experiment with running and the way in which I behave during workouts. So when I noticed the OC Fair was in the process of dismantling the Ferris wheel, leaving a giant metallic half-arc that looked like a Yeti, or more likely a Loch Ness Monster, had made a snack out of the carnival ride, I figured now was the time for action. (Also, I did not have time to drive to the site to take pictures, and take a run. This was a need-based experiment as well.) Even though the idea of halting my run was still about as appealing as waking up to a surprise root canal, I toted my camera with me as I hurried out the door. **
The result of this exercise in patience, in taking a few minutes away from the run? Very good indeed.
First, it is really fun to mix physical activity with something creative, and it seems too rare that we get to engage in such a feat – dance, musical performance, and woodworking come to mind, but more often than not, we are either physical, or we are creative. We are rarely both at once. Just by holding my camera in my hand, I began to look see pictorial settings rather than the mundane landscape I am accustomed to. There was photographic potential everywhere, I just never bothered to notice it. I used my mind in two different ways, and my body on top of it all. It was a challenging balance.
Second, I like tasks. And having a task while running, having a destination, is a big plus in my blog. There was a point to where I was headed, to what I wanted to accomplish. My run was infused with a new sense of purpse.
And last, breaking up the monotony of a run with something different was a delightful change of pace. This could probably be achieved in a multitude of other fashions: jumping jacks on street corners, handstands against church walls, making hash marks on your arm for each mile. The point was to remove my mind and body from running, and then get back into it, without losing my momentum.
So, I have to say that changing up your routine, testing your patience, and being a little different can go a long way. But I recommend taking your camera out with you and capturing some images of what you see out in the fitness world. Maybe even hit up a few of those vista points I used to eschew. I bet they’re called vista points for a reason.
*My strong suit is really a floral print dress suit with shoulder pads, in case you had to know.
** Which worried me, given my tenure in tumbling while taking a run.