Unfortunately, the gashuku that I was so yearning for was postponed for this year. In lieu of the much-needed training, my friend and I committed to meeting in a local park, practicing taiji and going for runs together (sometimes joined by another member of the dojo). Every morning last week we met at 6:30 or 7am and practiced the form and its applications, as well as going for a run around the lake (between 1.6-4.8km depending on how many laps we did).
The first morning was fantastic – my body felt fine, and I felt utterly invigorated by the early morning air and bright light. There ducks and moor hens and ibises and so many people walking their dogs, it was hard not to enjoy the atmosphere. The second morning was a bit harder – my legs (so generous the day before) had cramped up pretty badly from the running I hadn’t done in a year. I tried not to complain about them, but it was hard for me not to share my pain with others. They continued to carry me despite their protests, and the third morning was a little easier, and by Friday they weren’t hurting at all. I realised that at some stage during the week my default setting had become “tired and sore”, and so I lost the urge to complain. It was tremendously liberating not to feel the need to draw attention to how hard things were for me, because that was just what life was like, nothing extraordinary about it. I realised that sometimes it’s good not to be too comfortable.
That initial week of training having passed, I’ve resolved to continue, at least for a little while. I have to say, I’m a bit addicted to that rush of endorphins when I’m flying through the park at a full sprint, the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, the air fresh in my lungs. It feels like being alive. And that is a wonderful thing. I’ve discovered it’s much more enjoyable to run with company, because running by myself allows you to focus more fully on how sore and tired I feel, and how maybe I don’t need to run that extra lap, and how annoying the bugs are in my face and so forth. Zombies, Run! certainly helps, but nothing beats company.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep up my schedule – I think the lack of sleep is starting to affect me a little more than I realised – but I’m enjoying it for the moment so I’ll keep at it. If you ever feel like joining me, meet me at Tomato Lake at 6:30am. Don’t be square!