Boring? No Thank You, I’m Fine.

I was sitting on the couch, quite comfortably I might add, when I realized I was quite bored. I couldn’t think of anything to do, anyone to call; shit I couldn’t even think of anything to think of.  I was so bored I was very literally staring at the wall. I had analyzed ever crack of plaster and yellow stain on the 8 foot by 8 foot area. I didn’t even know I was doing it. My brain was just looking for some stimulation and I certainly wasn’t providing it.  The automatic feeling when we’re bored is to think we are lonely as well. I couldn’t really quite place it; was I bored or lonely or both…or was I simply indifferent? Hmm, that was an interesting thought. I decided to google interesting people. I wanted to find some inspiration and I couldn’t seem to count on myself at the moment to muster such thoughts.

Now, I will say, googling interesting people doesn’t always come up criteria that I find interesting. Politics for instance; I’m not opposed to the subject but I hardly call it interesting. Business, hmm, well ok there are some interesting business people, but not really what I was going for. On the other hand when I cam across Colin Angus, I was immediately intrigued.

Colin is the first man to officially circumnavigate the entire planet using only human power. His journey started in Vancouver, British Columbia where he rode his bike to Alaska, rowed a specialized boat across the Bering sea, hiked and biked his way through Siberia and Europe and then proceeded to row across the entire Atlantic Ocean and followed that by riding his bike back through Central America up through Mexico and the US and finally back to Vancouver. Phewf, that is an interesting person.  Not to mention inspiring. I started to think what I could do. Circumnavigating the planet…that might be a bit of a tall order, but the idea of some physical feet sparked my interest. I started by heading straight to the book shop. Inspiration was like a ball of snow and if I didn’t keep pushing it along, it would soon fall apart or melt. I ended up at the nearest huge box bookstore and asked for the book ‘Beyond the Horizon’ by Colin Angus. I started to read. I read for the entire evening and through most of the night. It’s the first time in my life I actually read a book front to back in one sitting. Other than when I read Black Beauty or Goosebumps books as a child of course. This man and his wife were my definition of interesting and amazing. They fit the criteria 100% and I was in genuine awe. I wanted to do something.

I decided I wanted to run through Europe. I got a little carried away with the idea and didn’t really think about the extensive planning that would have to go into such endeavors…but every adventure starts with an idea and a dash of recklessness.  And in my case, a splash of red wine. Planning comes next. I decided that maybe I should start smaller. I would run Switzerland. I had heard so much about how beautiful the country was…not to mention hilly, but beautiful all the same. I figured that if I could run from Geneva to Zurich I would be satisfied. It was a start. I got my credit card out and went to book a flight. As I was about to press confirm transaction on my flight (for three days later), my room mate walked in. As I explained to her what I was doing I could see she disapproved. Maybe she disapproved of it more because of the purple wine mustache I had seemed to grow over the last few hours. She suggested I calm down and sleep on it. I don’t know about you but when I am excited about something…especially something spontaneous and adventurous…I can’t calm down and sleep on it.  But, just to make her happy, I did.  The next day when I woke up I still wanted to do it, but this time with a plan.

At this time I am in the planning stages of the trip. I am contacting people in every town on my route to find places to stay and cheap hotels. I am trying to figure out if the weather will be good enough and if I can get by on rusty grade school French. I want this idea to be reality! Just the planning alone has taken me out of my so-called ‘boredom’. There are so many possibilities for excitement and adventure around us all the time. Maybe we just think they are impossible or unlikely so we don’t bother to pursue them. Maybe people tell us we are crazy and irrational and that discourages us. All I know is there is nothing interesting nor exciting or rational about sitting on a couch staring at a wall. It’s time to get up out of this comfort zone where so many of us live. Make the impossible, not just possible, but happen.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” –  Christopher Reeve

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The Urban Dance

The streets are flooded in cruise ship tourists, vendors and locals. I can hear different languages being spoken, street vendors trying to entice tourists to buy giant sunglasses, a man playing an accordion, a man dressed as a statue playing a harp. Laughter. Kids crying. Horse hooves beating against pavement. I feel like I am the only person who doesn’t have a distinct sound and I feel as if I am going against the entire crowd.

It seems like when you are a place as touristy as Palma de Mallorca you can never get a spot on the sidewalk. Everybody walks slowly, window shops and stops for photos. There is such a mix of people all from different places that the ‘keep to the right’ walking etiquette holds no meaning anymore. Depending on where they are from, everybody has a different natural side to the pavement. This makes it extremely difficult for me to get through, especially running. I used to find this frustrating, but now, I have come to love it.  The more challenging the better. Maybe I am the asshole, the running asshole that plows through groups of friendly faces and mellow onlookers. Am I the asshole that bashes your shoulder on my way past; the asshole that runs through the outdoor seating at your restaurant? I do try very hard not to be that asshole. I will do everything I can to swerve and weave through the masses. I will jump on benches, I will hurdle fences and signs. My goal is to do this in the most graceful possible way but to never slow my pace.

Urban running has become a full sport now. There’s groups who meet and use the city as their playground. These adventure enthusiasts  bound off high concrete blocks, rails and drops. They use every element of the urban landscape as their jungle jim, jumping and leaping into into shoulder rolls. It involves acts which are considered dangerous by most sane people and illegal by many authorities.  In honesty, sometimes when I’m running there is a huge urge that overcomes me. This urge asks me to do flips and take risks that I would never normally consider. I have to physically restrain myself from listening to this voice. Ultimately, I haven’t got the guts to do what they do and I have so much respect for those who say fuck it and just let themselves fly. You don’t know unless you try.

Urban dancing is the similar, more PG rated form of the prior. Based on the same principle of using your obstacles as part of your course, urban dancing should look graceful and most importantly not impede on anyone’s space. I like to think that sometimes people didn’t even see me go by. That I am in some kind of invisible cape that shields me from onlookers. There are times when you end up looking completely ridiculous and albeit completely the opposite of graceful.. I recall the other day, I was running through a tight, busy corridor. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be in the centre or to a particular side of the street. I choose right side. As soon as I did this a man stepped out of his shop, well I should say his dog stepped out first,. Last minute I tried for a semi-elegant looking hurdle. Fail. I missed the dog but not the step jutting out just past him. Face plant. To make things even more embarrassing, the dog came over and starting growling and barking at me while I lay there in my shame. I guess we can’t always be on form.  Getting through these busy streets and crowds is always an exciting feeling and is huge part of running for me. When you finally emerge from the crowd and look back at the chaos you just braved, you can’t help but feel satisfied. And if you made a complete foot of yourself at least it’s all behind you.

~What if your fears and dreams existed in the same place? What if to get to heaven you had to brave hell? What if everything you wanted cost you everything you had ever achieved?

Would you still go there?

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You Are Here ←

This isn’t your typical blog about running. I have no desire to talk about what shoes I wear, how far I run and what time I do it in. In fact, I almost don’t want to call it running at all. I guess I’m not a conventional runner. Although I love the exercise, I don’t run for exercise. It’s more to survive really.  I run to explore. Sometimes I eat when I run, sometimes I even drink. I shop, I take photos; I try and map a city’s nooks and crannies. I guess there are times when I just go for “runs” or try and push myself to be a better “runner” but the drive comes from somewhere else. I am guessing there are people out there who feel the same. Can we call ourselves runners just because we run? Or are runners only those funny looking people that carry water bottles around their wastes, wear brightly coloured reflective shirts and dummy strings on their sunglasses?? Are they only the people that have long, lean bodies full of stretchy, toned muscles?? Personally, I don’t think so. I think maybe there are more of us who just run for the sanity. We run because we’re stressed and need to vent. We run because it’s the only time we can think. We run because we like to see new places. We run because it makes us feel like we can fly. Running is therapy for us, it is empowering.

What do you think of when you look back on your life so far? I remember a string of moments laced together by empty time. I seldom recall the filler, only the moments. What are the true moments I remember when I overflowed with joy?

Running. Alone. I was powerful, I was magnificent. I was unstoppable. I was uncatchable.  Those times I feel joy bubble from inside. I feel it first as a surge which comes from my feet pushing up all the way through my body, my heart, my chest…there’s a tingling in my fingers, and it spreads across my face like a contagious disease.  I feel like I can see for miles and miles, like I am in control of my destiny. When I stop, the feeling lasts for a while…but never long enough.

I guess this blog is going to try and be about travel, inspiration, photography, music, pushing the limits, adventure… just life really.

I would love to hear other stories of adventure and introspect through running. Please feel free to post any comments/stories below!

RUN ~ Redefine yoUrself Now

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