The Run that Taught Me The Surrender to Surf

by Sarah K. Grundy

Milestones. Each one brings with it a new reality.

I ran 12.5 miles along Kelly Drive today behind a man that taught me how to take it all in stride. I was determined to go further, faster, firmer. I would find myself wanting to sprint, or stop. Fly or fall.

Today I learned to slow my role and endurance shone through. I noticed and I saw others notice too. Like this light I felt coming out of me was visible. I realized the runner I've become, the runner I've been and the one I want to become.

It's not always about going faster, or pushing harder learning to fly, or extracting the essence of the universe to get your gait on. I took flight today, by digging down deep, planting myself inside and my feet on the ground naturally. Letting it flow. Letting it go. Relinquishing.

I was running past a man that kept passing me. I finally decided to stay behind him and see what happened. I fought the urge to pass him and go faster. I noticed he kept the same stride soft, subtle, relaxed and at the same pace the entire time.

Although I felt that rush inside that made me want to go full speed ahead, because I was energized and endorphins were talking to me,I stayed steady at the same pace and dug down deep inside and stayed there.

I went further inside than usual, until I was "in the ground" I "was the ground." I let my body be more limp, more into this earth that I am asking to receive me. My arms dropped down closer to my waist my hands weren't as flexed. They were scooping the wind relaxed and natural. I focused on easy posture and pace, relaxation and my still inner quiet. Letting go of the self.

I breathed in and out, steadily. Using mostly my nose. (Read Fix Your Run Blog by Lululemon's expert running coach, John Goldthorp, for more on breathing with only your nose for increased benefits and decreased injuries.)

Instead of lifting off, taking flight from the core of the earths crust, I dug down deep into the ground. I was the core. I stayed so deep inside that it was me alone out there with hundreds of people, hundreds of souls and I was alone. I felt spirits, but no bodies.

Then I felt only my own soul, only my own spirit and I was whole.

No images that stopped me in my tracks making me want to snap a photo, or distract me from my vision and purpose. I was an island. I was everything and nothing. The runners beside me felt the same as the trees.

When I stopped to stretch my legs against the trees, which always have the power to restore me instantly, I saw no eyes, or felt none other than the bark of the tree, the dirt in the ground.

I literally hugged a tree, falling into it catching my breath and feeling my heart pound deeply. Release. I moaned softly, out loud, just a bit, as the stretching went further than usual, and I exhaled into apparently that which is called,  ardha chandra chapasansa, releasing me from any possible tension.

My toes touched the tip of my head, I pulled my knee further from my calf and stretched until my toes were touching the tree in front of me. Arching to such fulfillment. Stretching to perfection. It was something I've always done.

Steady, relaxed and down deep.

Today I breached my threshold and ran all the way to East Falls from Washington Square West Philadelphia. I found peace in my solitude, a place I flourish, a place I continue to return for sanity, a place I'm happy I can have and still have love too. It's where I belong. All I need is me. I'm enough. I found love today, but I'm not doing the Love Run, 1/2 Marathon.

Now, I can surf.

Image and Text COPYRIGHT © February 2015 MAZEYLOTUS

Solo Runner


by Sarah K. Grundy

Running is the practice of flying.

Gait, both feet are off the ground, simultaneously during a runners flight, suspended in air for moments.

That requires magic, very scientific term.

Kinesiology would say, a characteristic feature of a running body from the viewpoint of spring-mass mechanics is that changes in kinetic and potential energy within a stride occur simultaneously, with energy storage accomplished by springy tendons and passive muscle elasticity. This without creating injury is a bio-mechanical process.

You must learn to fly.

As a kid, part of my upbringing was in a house my dad and his brother's built with their bare hands. It gave me the geography to become a cross country runner. Trails that went forever seemingly, veering into mountains, giant rocks, hills, valleys, rivers and giant trees that had vines dangling from them (my sisters and brother, and I actually swung on these vines as kids.)

The house rested in the middle of a natural oasis 1/2 mile from the road and who can count the miles to civilization. If you went far enough you'd find waterfalls that were connected to the Delaware River. I'd get lost out there for hours running, never getting bored returning home drenched in sweat and sap, mud and moss, water and wildlife. 

I never felt more alive than in those moments, which were supposed to be of solitude, but so rich with communication and interaction-sights, smells, sounds. The senses were taken to their birth place. The searching could cease.

Running through the city streets was the other part of my formative years, to find the gates to the forest, is the service and it brings surrender.

The people are fueling you, as you run, you can feel all of them, since you are merely wind, or mist, or spirit passing by, they are open to you.  I am recycling it right back to them, all that I extract from the earth's crust with my tippy toes, answering their calls and questions, quenching their thirst. I imagine light pouring out of me as I run by whooshing whatever it is they need right into their deepest selves, hoping to awaken them, rescue them, serve them.

It starts even before my eyes open.

I feel a tingling in my feet, a sensation in my hands a cry from my core that soars from my toes to the tip of my head. The oxygen is reaching to fill me, but still beckons for more space. I'm arching, pulling, flexing, stretching, breathing, twisting, contorting, balancing, dancing, and meditating within moments of being awake-warming my body and preparing my focus.

I envision where the winding ways of my windy soul will take me today, when I allow it to have its way like a child roaming through a toy store. I'm already in tune, already listening to the whispers all around me, inside me chanting me forward, guiding me to the place where I will find more powers to take me through this day.

I open my eyes and follow the lit path.

I imagine my bare feet extracting the hot lava out of the core of the earth, from its surface, as I interact with the multitude of ecosystems, mud, grass, rocks, sand, clay, gravel, wood, and the track too. Each one requires a different devotion, a new delicate balancing act. I'm mystified by the grounds powers, and my weakness. I rub my hands together where there seems to be an entirely new source of electricity to fuel through my entire body. Engaged with the winds, seducing them to dance with me, as I surrender to nature's forces.

Another runner whooshes by, embracing the code, we allow each other to be drenched by the muddy puddle we both land in simultaneously, as we subtly reach for each other's gust of wind to enter our bodies, at all costs, like a spirit might. A wave with our hands, and a bow send white, orange, yellow lights flashing like lightening bolts propelling each of us faster, stronger, longer, harder.

Solo runners feed each other with a glance.

I give everything, open wide every time we pass by one another, and without fail the openness is returned. We are rallying each other silently, mystically.

Solo runners connect to the universal team, the collective, they are running together with that which can be seen, if you are awake. Stopping to stretch with the length of the tree, digging my feet deep into the mud and grass gripping onto the tree feeling its roots beneath me, run through my veins, empowering me to once again take flight, fly to a place where everything is just the way it should be.

Free, light, without thought, pushing through anything the mind wants to introduce that may stifle my instincts, stifle my senses, stifle my ability to live in the here and now. I take my destiny into my hands. My hands, which I rub together to refuel my body with strength, hands which I wave back casually at a fellow runner, each of us receiving and passing our powers, like a torch, or the wings of a doves to make flight.

The cool down leaves opportunity for helping that older lady with her groceries, imprinting a smile on the face of a lost soul, lifting a man who has fallen on the street, embracing a child who has lost their mother, delivering for a woman who could not do so herself.

The heights reached from the flight of the solo run, endures and carries you continuously higher, forever closer to each other.

Image and Text COPYRIGHT © December 2013 MAZEYLOTUS