Just like soft running, sometimes you need a soft ride. I’ve been going hard these last few months, trying to lose weight, get faster, and all that other pretty fucking typical stuff. Then came a 10 mile trail race and I realized I didn’t have that much fun. It’s time to recalibrate.
Left the house and it was around 70 degrees, but sort of cool on the bike. I actually rode slow enough to be chilly; like, just riding so easy that I wasn’t really warming myself. It was a nice feeling. I slowed, looked deep into the woods, scanned the creeks, stopped to smell some pine trees.
Just like we can’t focus on work for 8+ hours, at least not in a healthy way, we can’t always workout hardcore either. I mean, if you’re young, cool! Do you! But it’s also nice to just switch it up.
Stop and smell the roses is cliche for a reason.
And I’ve discovered in my journey with outsourcing, there’s been some quiet time. There’s been moments in the day where shit is actually done, caught up. Nothing to do. It’s glorious, but also terrifying. It’s just not something I’m familiar with, having gone pretty much full tilt since 2018 when my Close Mondays operation really took off.
Tonight it felt unsettling to just get away on the bike, but it was absolutely everything I needed. The best ideas come in the shower, or those quiet moments just staring at the mountains.
Avoiding those moments isn’t advisable for me. I need to keep searching them out.
Reminded of this article after a long talk with a friend today:
We’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.
That article is from March 23rd of 2020, which feels like a life-time ago. And how did anyone hit the nail on the head just a week after we started shutting things down?
We’re grieving the loss of normal, of safety, of security, of spontaneity. Stuff is upside down right now, and just keeping our head up is an act of defiance and bravery.
We no longer have a commute. We don’t have shows, or dinners, or meet ups like we used to, to break up our days. Our weeks. The day to day is stuck on loop. Like the Groundhog Day movie, but way darker because it’s happening in real life, and the ending credits are nowhere to be seen.
Today I remembered going into the city. Driving to the bus station, the two hour bus ride, walking out of Port Authority Bus Terminal and seeing the NYTimes building. I fired up Google Maps street view just to remember what that was like. I strolled down the street, heading east to Bryant Park. Dammit I miss Bryant Park.
I miss being able to meet up with friends at shows, and all the talks and adventure that place before the doors even open. Late night drives home, and everything they reveal.
This year has stripped a lot of the possibilities away. Great conversations are still happening, and the random hangs with select folks, but still, this shit is hard.
Close that laptop and go for a long walk, run, dance, whatever. Move your bones, emails can wait.
I went through some dark harrowing times in 2014, 2015; broke as fuck, closed bank account, no steady work. Long walks helped save my ass (along with wonderful friends). Note that I’m not saying JUST GET OUTSIDE! DEPRESSION ISN’T REAL. Fuck that noise.
You can only answer so many emails, check off so many tasks. Eventually you’re making mistakes, resentment swells. Just get away. Law of diminishing returns. You’re not gonna remember those three things on your to-do list that you cleared on a Thursday night. Not compared to some walk where you might run into a great dog or two, or a gorgeous sun set.
Some days hurt, some days you float. This was a nice six miles around the Trexlertown Nature Preserve, on a new route I’ve never done before. Started off chilly and breezy, and saw a woman modeling with antlers in the woods, so all in all a great run.
The thing about trail running is it’s time in the woods, which I cherish. Lately I’ve been taking it slow and easy, which just means more time in the woods, so it’s a win win all around. I keep reminding myself that I’m not racing, I’m just out in nature. So when it hurts, slow down. Walk. Take a photo (or two).
Some days I just don’t feel like a hard run. I don’t feel tough, or strong. I just want to be… soft.
I want to stop and take photos. I want to kick up pine needles so I can breathe in that wonderful smell. I want to just, stop, and appreciate the clouds and the sky.
A lot of times I just want to be in nature, but a little faster than walking. A shuffle, a jog, and that’s okay. Every run is not a race, and every run doesn’t have to be training. A run, like a walk, can be just because.
Work processes, funds, bills, invoices, filing receipts… generally the stuff to figure and manage on the weekends after working all week on work stuff.
Weekends have been good for this, though, as the flow of incoming requests goes to zero, and I can focus and get these important things done. If I don’t do them, they don’t get done.
A long walk helps. Heck, on Friday I ducked out for three short runs. I say “duck out” like I work full-time for some big company, but I’ve been a freelancer since 2006 and still feel like I’m getting away with something when I walk away from my computer for more than 30 minutes.
But I had my running shoes on, and when it was time to get the mail, I guess I just took the long way. Instead of refilling my coffee and nuking it for 45 seconds, in which I’d be able to walk to the mailbox and back just in time to hear the beeping microwave, I put on my sunglasses and cruised around the back road and alleys for a mile or so, just getting the heart going and the feet shuffling.
Fitting in these moments – just like the work stuff described above – just has to happen, as easily and as frictionless and scrolling through Instagram for 12 minutes.