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Run for your life!

Angkor Wat half marathon - with The Chain Reation Project team

Run for your life!
This week, I am writing this newsletter from Cambodia, where I am running 10k in the Angkor Wat half marathon – and the whole experience of preparing for and participating in this, my first 10k run since Sport Aid in 1986… well, anyway, a lot of water under the bridge.
There are great mindful lessons to share:
On the path to Wisdom there are several questions I ask, either all of them, or some of them as seems appropriate*
In the purpose of what - have I decided to take up running, at the age of 51?
The answer is clear and simple. When I imagine my life well lived, I see myself running along the beach, bare chested, lithe and fit – yes a silver fox, but a mindful, wise old fox too. If this is the vision I have for myself living life well – I know the actions I need to take are to start running – but not as a goal, but as simply part of my life.
For the purpose of living my life well, I run.
Since June 2015 I have clocked up 460k which I am pretty pleased with. There are many more kilometers to go before that old fox is fully realized, but that is just a milestone.
My internal dialogues go something like this, on a Tuesday morning, when the alarm has gone off and I should get out of bed:
“I’m too tired”,
“I need some more sleep”,
“it’s warm and cozy here, why on earth did I think an early morning run was a good idea?”
– this is the observer of my life I am very familiar with – and I know the result of taking action based on these observations; and they are not serving my purpose at all! – so instead I ask
“In the purpose of what am I going to get out of bed, put on my running gear and get out on the street?”
and the answer I have now is
“in the purpose of living my life well”
– and that really does make it less hard to jump out of bed. Once out running, the reward is on the road, it might be the sight of birds, the sun rise, or once, two deer coming out of the woods – and just as often, simply the knowledge that I am out an about is reward enough.
I’m going to restate it, as it is very very important – what happened here is that the dialogue was not “I have a goal to achieve to run the Angkor Wat half marathon” – which is most certainly how I would have dealt with this once upon a time. The Dialogue is about the life between the milestones. About mindfully living in the moment, and living my life well. And this change in how I observe myself is profound, the actions, the goals are different, and achieved because I look at them a different way.
In the last week, I am beginning to worry.. now the dialogue is “am I going to be OK?”, “will I be able to run 10k?” – and I know that in my old milestone and goal orientation – these would have been valid. I would likely have not done enough training, left things too late as I assessed other, newer goals to be of higher priority or urgency - but this time I am fully prepared, I know I have done enough preparation - and for once I am going to achieve my potential - and that is what it is all about
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