Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
I can barely put a sentence together in my head right now, as evidenced by the fact that I first typed “write now”, so I’m not sure how coherently this will come out. I don’t like this prompt very much, but I do like that I can make it fit what I want to write about tonight. What I *have* to write about really, given that it’s pretty much the only thing I can think about at the moment.
This morning I ran a half marathon. I haven’t run one in close to five years, though I’ve run nearly the same distance in the years since on a whim a few times. I say “on a whim” because it is not normal, nor well-advised to throw an 11 or 12 mile run into the mix when one is generally in the habit of 5-6 miles. It makes for a painful next few days. But this morning was a deliberate choice made a couple of months ago. I did not do quite as well as I’d hoped, but I definitely did better than I should have done, given the amount I did *not* train for this. I haven’t run more than 6 or 7 miles in months and while I figured I could manage the first 8, it was the last five miles that were a giant question mark.
I finished though, in just about two hours, which is how long the last one took me and about 15 minutes slower than the totally unreasonable and unattainable goal I had set for myself. I can’t say that I felt particularly integrated with my body this morning, at least not in the way that this prompt seems to be asking for. There was definitely a divide between my mind and body for the majority of the race – my body railing against what it seemed to consider an idiotic decision to be propelling myself through North Portland against the wind on a Sunday morning and my mind doing its level (if pathetic) best to play cheerleader. Stuff just hurt – back, hips, knee, and oh yeah, I forgot once again to use my GD inhaler. Quick prayer to the tiny, infant Christmas Jesus to get me through it in one piece somewhere around mile 9 maybe, but in spite of the stress and strain, it really wasn’t that bad. I loved being out there and I ran strong, even with the constant knowledge that it would have been a good decision to train a bit more.
It’s this “cohesive you” business that’s tripping me up, I think. I’ve had runs where things just clicked – where I seemed to move easily and fluidly and it all just felt good. I’ve also had nights in Pilates class where I felt more cohesive, centered or whatever than I normally do in day-to-day life. But, I don’t know – I guess I kind of liked the grueling assault this morning. Maybe that’s nuts, but I liked the challenge. I liked knowing that I was going to power through it to the end, no matter how much it hurt and how much it felt like my brain was bouncing around inside my skull for miles 8-10. I guess it’s just that I feel grateful to know that my body can get it together enough to run 13.1 miles for me when I ask it to. Integrated and cohesive? Not exactly. Alive and present? Damn straight.