Friday, January 01, 2016


boxes with checks next to them. anti-bedlam.
enough for today
the demands of the moment
the thing on my mind 

is the work in my hand
wood for the woodstove

and water for coffee
something i can still understand

over the ocean from here
over the mountains from there

~ james taylor, 'montana'
like every year before it, 2015 was utter chaos.

and, like every year before, out of the chaos came more beauty and ugliness than our brains could process in a lifetime.

the aspect of my life that stilled the bedlam and brought a flimsy sense of order to the madness was running.

nights in the rain. days in the mud. heat. dust. feeling sick, feeling completely in the zone. the steady constant was the quiet of the trails, and the peace of mind it always brought.

four and a half years into this epiphany, my only regret is that i didn't discover it sooner. that, and a lack of closet space for the shoes.

people more nuanced in such things than i gently remind me that meditative silence is essential to our mental health. a firehose of cacophony must be balanced with an internal mute button. and whether we achieve it through yoga or prayer or exercise or some other path, the point is that it gets us to a place of stillness. else we begin to shake apart.

a lack of internal quiet is a big reason why i ran more in 2015 than ever before. more racing miles. more training miles. more "i have to go run now or my head will explode" miles. i thought at this point in my life there would be more time for review and reflection and rumination. and other r-words. instead there's less time, and far more need.
re-reading this post from late 2014, i find i wrote about many of the same heartbreaking, exhausting things in 2015. mass shootings, racism, poverty. so, either i'm stuck in a rut, or the world is.

it would be so much easier to ignore it all. 

but, it's cold, and there are countless people (and other living beings) who need help. a homeless man, darryl, still lives under the bridge near our house. if i ignore him, if i don't bring him food and blankets and warm clothes, he might die there. how would i explain that to my children? how would i live with myself?

there's no ignoring the exhausting things; but there is a chance to make them less bad.
things i learned while running in 2015:

peace of mind is only a mile or two away.
a bad run becomes good when it's done.
when everything hurts, or i feel sick, i can keep going.
lots of people really are sick and hurting, and would give anything to be there with me. 
there is beauty enough in the world to counteract the ugliness, if you just agree to see it.
every moment, every step, every mile is a gift.

miles covered: 1,367. 

last race of the year
deception pass 50k
98/190 (overall)
7/13 (m 50-59)
shoes: altra olympus 2.0

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