The other day I came across this fantastic blog about running on Oatmeal. This blogger, through his comics, illustrated how I feel about running and more. It as like he had taken all my thoughts and feelings about running and presented them to me in picture form. The last page of the comic really struck a cord with me and reminded me why I am so passionate about running and why I miss it when I’m prevented from doing it: The Void.
In Oatmeal’s comic he talks about running to find the void, to find clarity, to find the silence. And that is what I miss most when I’m not able to run. When I run it isn’t just about training or races, it is about the meditative state that I get into. Being aware but also being not quite aware. A level of awareness that keeps me safe while I run but also allows me to drift off into the nether regions of my mind. Thinking but also not thinking. Listening to my heart, hearing my breath, tuning myself into the hum of the traffic as it whizzes by, gradually sinking deeper and deeper into a trance. And when I find that void state, when I drop into the black hole that running has created for me, a mile can go past and I won’t have noticed.
However the void isn’t always completely silent. When I’m there the thoughts that have been crowding my mind trough the day can form a more orderly queue and I find I can go through them one by one. Or images of my family and loved ones flash across my mind’s eye as I pound the pavements. The anger or frustration that I may have been feeling can be expired by my breath as I run towards home, unburdened and cleansed. All these things fall into the cavern that is my void and melt away.
I’m not quite back into running again just yet, my calf injury has flared up again. When I read the Oatmeal post I realised why I get so angry when I can’t run. I have become addicted to the Wonderful Void, the peace that I feel when my body is running. Experiencing the void helps me not mentally but physically too. I’m sure the reason that I have been having bouts of insomnia recently is because I haven’t been able to touch the running void. I’ll try to be patient, let my body heal, get stronger and eventually I’ll be able to find the void again.