I finally got out for a long training walk yesterday. 12 (or so) miles on the Santa Fe Trail, which runs in a ribbon between the railroad tracks and a fast-running creek. Ravens and blue jays were having skirmishes over best nesting locations. The sun was bright, but it was windy, as spring often is around here. I took off my jacket, put it back on, took it off….for several hours.
I worked in the morning, finally breaking through to something real and honest and true in the misbehaving MIP (that would definitely be MESS until yesterday). The weather is threatening to turn again today, so I desperately wanted to get out and do the next jump in my training walks, try out some different shoes (I don’t love the new Reeboks for long distance–they get too hot and clunky, though they’re fine for neighborhood jaunts), get my feet used to walking hours and hours. All that.
What I most wanted was to be outside in the sunlight, walking. Just walking. Not doing anything, not thinking, just moving my feet over a path. I didn’t want words, and only listened to music–mostly Patty Griffin, with her poetry and blues and folksy ways–but I sometimes listened to birds and wind and train whistles, too.
After a couple of hours, I stopped to peel the orange I brought with me, and realized that I hadn’t had a single real thought in six or seven miles. It is, for me, a very powerful mediation technique. I find sitting meditation to be fairly challenging, both the discomfort and annoyance of sitting still and the distraction of that four year old girl in my head, chattering and chattering. I find myself following one thread, and another and another until it is 10 minutes later and I haven’t been still for one second. But walking…meditation just happens there for me. A thought might flit in, then out again, but none of them stick around to bother me. The book slides by, riding the current of the river, but then the river itself captures me, real and deep and fast. I might think about the bills I need to pay or the garden or my children, but mostly….not. It is the most singularly relaxing thing to do.
I suppose that means that walking isn’t really mediation, since it doesn’t require any effort or discipline to quiet my thoughts that way, but at least I get the exercise benefits. Stong heart, strong thighs, and after almost four hours of walking, I definitely earned a treat, and very much enjoyed some beer last night!
Training log notes
Miles this week: 21
On the Ipod: Patty Griffin. I now have all of her music on the Ipod, which is more of a treat than I can tell you.
Snacks: 1 Gu, an orange, a couple of string cheese, a bunch of water. Might need to add some Gatorade at the end.
The pitch: I have committed to raising $2500 by June. It isn’t a sponsorship, but direct donations to each walker’s tally. The money goes to helping provide screening and care for women who are under- or uninsured, a cause about which I am passionate. If you feel moved to donate, you can do so, here.
The disclaimer: We all have things we care about and no one can give to everything, in time or money.