Some days I only run downhill

Three or four days a week, I take a jog through my neighborhood. It is a winding, hilly route of about two and a half miles. The homes are red brick and vinyl siding, with a few white stucco renegades quietly at ease with their originality. At the upper end financial scale of middle class, all of the yards are trimmed with tidy gardens and close-cropped grass. Not too many cars zip through those twisting streets, plus there are lots of trees for shade, and friendly people walking their dogs – a pleasant place to live and run.

I don’t particularly care for jogging for it’s own sake. I run because my body and mind require it to stay healthy and sane. Running increases my strength and endurance, keeps my lungs in working order, helps raise that good HDL cholesterol (the one that takes LDL cholesterol back to your liver for reprocessing), and supports my tennis game. Running also helps free my mind to process . . . stuff. I don’t know what I am going to think about when I go to run. I just let whatever “stuff” that is ready to process bubble up and percolate for a while. Everything is better after I have gone for a run.

But I confess, some days I only run on the down hills and walk on the up hills. I don’t always know what days those might be. Sometimes, I think on a 92-degree day or if I feel tired and worn out, that I will be running only on the down hills, but then I find out after the first quarter mile that my body is in sync, my mind is free, and I run the entire way.

Other days, I fully intend to run all the way only to find out that, nope . . . my body and mind want the slower pace. Perhaps they need the time to take better care of themselves. I trust their wisdom and, since I am not training for the Olympics, I let them have their way.

I am beginning to look at life much the same way. Some days, I am rushing around, fighting uphill battles, pushing my body and mind to their limits (and sometimes beyond), and I have to stop and wonder: why? Exactly where am I going?

Beyond the age of fifty, life has become a marathon. Why am I in such a hurry to finish the daily race? My personal internal neighborhood is as stable and clean as the one I run through. It will keep me solidly safe should I choose to stroll through my day taking frequent breaks if I want. My mind likes to take its time wandering through the twisting avenues of my thoughts and ideas as if it wants to get to know each one intimately and become their best friend. Both my body and my mind want the down time to just do nothing. It is a real treat for them when I relax and slowly work my way through learning new knowledge, or a task or skill.

Downhill living.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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9 Responses to “Some days I only run downhill”

  1. holessence Says:

    “My mind likes to take its time wandering through the twisting avenues of my thoughts and ideas as if it wants to get to know each one intimately and become their best friend.”

    Barbara, I love the word picture that you painted in my mind with that sentence. I’ve been moving through the twisting avenues of my thoughts and ideas at a pretty good clip these last few days. Renewing old acquaintences and making new ones. I intend to go back, sit down, and enjoy a nice hot cuppa with each of them once my re-created work is in the mail — tomorrow morning.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie — slowing down and taking my time is so antithetical to my general whirlwind lifestyle. I have always felt that I started living late in life and have a lot of catching up to do. Reality says that the only person I need to catch up with is myself.

      Is your re-created work the material that was on your hard drive?

  2. sandiwhite Says:

    With maturity comes wisdom. Why not slow down and enjoy the view? Like most people, I became intent on covering as much ground as possible in the least amount of time. I see and appreciate so much that I was simply blowing off as non-essential before. Now I would rather take it in a little more sedately, stopping for a moment to bend over and actually smelling the roses instead of glimpsing them in my peripheral vision as I shoot past. I thoroughly endorse a walking spell, especially in this heat that you are dealing with, it’s just smarter!

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I do the same thing with those roses, Sandi! I shoot past them, catch a glimpse, and say “I really need to go back and visit those for a while here some time soon” and then I never go back. I dance around doing this and that in the outside world and am realizing I am not doing a whole lot worthwhile! With the exception of caring for and building relationships with friends and loved ones, the best use of my space and energy is getting acquainted with the person I am becoming.

      • ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

        Good evening All,

        Thanks for the thought provoking examinations here.
        In my mnd I feel that I have experianced amazing things, even with raising two kids, make that three (hubby), and worked Full-Time since I was 15, traveled quite a bit all over and lived in 6 states. With all of this, I somehow still feel like I missed so much! Especially long summers with my kids. have also realized recently with all your thought provoking interehave sts that I need to really start forming a life outside of work! I would not really label myself as workaholic considering I usually could turn work off when I was at home with the kids and my hubby travelled. I am a bit concerned that lately it seems like I am somehow trying to catch up with work, when I should b catching up with life. I am so awed by all of the creative things that I really put aside and worked in the medical field. Things like photography, art, painting, writing have been on the back burner while basicaslly being what I would really consider a robot, doing the same routines over and over again!

        I find this online community fascinating in the fact that there is more sharing than is really done in person, I actually sometimes wonder if we would share so closely the same things in person. I know I would, however it is probably different for each individual.

        Well I guess I have addressed something abut this to do int he next few weeks. Maybe finding someone to walk the dog with, play cards with, sit and visit with, create with, share with on a friend level that is what I would sday you all are to me, taken from Laurie, Positive, Uplifting, Heaking , and constructive, I will add fun to boot!

        Kim

        • Barbara Kass Says:

          Kim, carve out a little bit of space each day for you — whatever that requires. What you focus on will grow (haven’t we heard that somewhere else before?). Soon that little space will get bigger and bigger. You will find ways to do your job in 8 hours and accomplish everything you need to there. Then, just leave it behind when you go out the door. It is very easy to become our jobs. When we have 10 hours, we will make sure we fill up that 10 hours. Set your intent and watch for space to open up . . .

  3. ntexas99 Says:

    barbara, I know Laurie already pointed to this passage, but it bears repeating: “My mind likes to take its time wandering through the twisting avenues of my thoughts and ideas as if it wants to get to know each one intimately and become their best friend.” Love the way you allowed us to wander through that sentence, absorbing the wisdom and taking a downhill meandering walk with you. It was so good I went back and read through it several times, to really let it sink in.

    I also loved this in your comments: “the best use of my space and energy is getting acquainted with the person I am becoming. It has been inspiring to tune in every now and again and see that your writing continues to soar, even as your internal exploration continues moving forward. Downhill, or otherwise. Great post!

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Nancy — it is always good to see you! How is YOUR blog coming? I expect an invite, you know. I have just recently become aware of “racing mind syndrome” where my mind gets so many ideas going at one time that I can’t keep track. Writing is so helpful to getting these ideas out of me and on to the computer or a piece of paper. I am less likely these days to pursue outside interests of gain or achievement, except for those that support my internal growth and process. Keep in touch and tell me where we can start reading your words of wisdom 🙂

  4. A little bit uphill « Eternal Presence Says:

    […] in July 2010, almost to the day, I wrote about how I sometimes only run downhill when I go jogging. I am perfectly content to use gravity to speed me along and then walk up the […]

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