I managed a couple of runs, I always do - if it means getting up a little earlier that is fine by me. I try not to impact the day too much. The interesting thing was that out on the roads of Bodmin Moor first thing in the morning (around 7:30) there is no traffic. There was actually no artificial noise. You can just plod along with your thoughts and the sound of your feet for company. It's metronomic and feels like I imagine meditation would. There are animals and it was a treat to see so many wild ponies on the moor.
It was on a run across the moor that I started thinking about spirituality and the connection to god and religion. There was a point where at the turnaround point (I was doing a 30 minute out and 30 minute back run) there was a path leading up a lane lined with impressively tall trees. I took a detour to check it out and was rewarded with the most amazing view across Bodmin Moor. Stood there in the cool morning looking across was a truly simple and spectacular experience. With nothing modern in view you could almost imagine that the view had not altered much in 100, 200 or maybe even a 1,000 years.
I headed back across the moor and my mind wandered back to 2008 and our holiday in Majorca. On this holiday I raised the stakes a little and hired a road bike from Pro Cycle Hire Majorca for a week (we were away for two). It was a Giant OCR in the old T-Mobile colours. Bright pink and black!
Cycling in Majorca was simply the best cycling ever, the roads were clear, the drivers accommodating and the tarmac pristine! Not at all like the pot-holed roads around Cheltenham. On one of my rides I cycled up the
View Larger Map">MA-5018 at Randa where at the top is an old monastery
|From Majorca 2008 - Monastery Nr. Randa|
As I made my way up the winding road the views across Majorca were amazing. The sea in one direction then round the bend to see the vast expanse of flat land leading to hills on the horizon.
|From Majorca 2008 - Monastery Nr. Randa|
It was early morning and there was some mist dispersing as the sun was rising. There were no cars and no other people that I saw as I made my way up.
At the top I made my way to the Monastery which sits at the peak and on the edge of the mountain. The end of the monastery is a drop-off the cliff! The sun was gaining height, despite the increasing temperatures the mist was loitering in parts and looking across I could understand why the monks believed in god. As someone who is not religious and did not consider myself capable of such thinking I was quite moved.
Back to Bodmin Moor and as I made my way back to the cottage I started thinking a little further about the activity of running, the environment that we run in and the kit that we have. Incredibly technical fabrics, structured shoes, custom orthotics, KT Tape, compression clothing, Goretex the list is endless and judging by the product review sections in magazines grows each month. The days of a pair of trainers, shorts and t-shirt seemingly confined to history. There is another piece of kit that is missing from this list which is entirely optional and that is the MP3 player. A lot of runners I see when running at home use MP3 players. Strapped to the arm or held in the hand as they run. I have used portable radio’s and MP3 players while running and went through a phase of using it every time. This is something I have stopped using and it has now been years. Even though I train on my own largely I like having clarity of thought and being able to experience my surroundings. Sure sometimes a song pops in and rattles around my head (I pretty much completed the Windsor Triathlon bike leg with the chorus of Lilly Allen ‘It’s not Fair’ rattling in my head!) but that’s different. It’s just another thought rather than something put in your head artificially. This links also to the zen approach to things which I guess can be summed up by saying that when you are running, run. That means just run, focus on one thing, enjoy that one thing and do not spoil or taint it by turning it into a multi-tasking opportunity.
Whilst still a non-believer in the religious sense as I get older I am more appreciative of my surroundings. I run for my enjoyment and for my physical well being but also to have time with no input. In theses days of iPhone apps, Twitter, Facebook, email, text messaging, online everything etc it is rare to just do one thing that really doesn’t actually involve much thought.
Almost like a mind-reboot and we can all use one of those every once in a while...