We run along parallel to many sources of joy, meaning and fulfilment if we define ourselves to narrowly. If we aren't able to overcome some of the barriers built of a lack of awareness or discomfort. If we aren't able to get to experience the other side.
I tried some Capoeira classes last year. It was a wonderful experience that I definitely want to get more of. The teacher described the place where the beauty of Capoeira lies as a dance between the forces of gravity pushing down, and our strength pushing up. Each movement up goes down first. Each movement down starts by going up. There is a flow. When the forces equal each other, there is a lightness. Music. Poetry.
I am training for the Comrades Marathon. At 89km long, there are going to be a lot of forces flowing through my body. It is famously difficult and yet famously open to everybody. You qualify by running a Marathon and entering before they hit the limit of 20,000 people. I grew up on the route. We used to cheer the leaders as they flew by. Bruce Fordyce and Frith van der Merwe were childhood heros. Fordyce winning every year for the first decade of my life, bar 1989. In 1989, van der Merwe obliterated the woman's record and finished 15th overall in a time of under 6 hours. Most people aren't uber athletes. Their cheers were a mixture of awe, sympathy, support and a transfer of any will power possible. They are parents, uncles, aunts, friends, colleagues and teachers who are waking up early or going for runs after work. Transforming their bodies. Slowly building up to finishing the race in under 12 hours. On the road almost twice as long as the legends.
Bruce Fordyce and Hosea Tjale (Comrades Marathon)
The Capoeira feels relevant as I slowly build up. I have been doing it very slowly. Following the advice that your breath is your best coach. If you aren't breathing comfortably, you are running to fast. As my muscles strengthen, and my joints get stronger, there are passages of running where that balance of gravity and my force seem to be in sync. When I am comfortably moving along. Breathing easily. Outside. Floating.
Wandering the routes around where I live, it feels like as my body slowly builds resilience, I am also growing into the area. Not quite like hoping on a train under the ground. I run past unusual shops. I recognise side streets. I discover alternative routes. Where I live becomes more a part of who I am, in the same way as I am becoming a runner.
Beyond some discomfort, lies a broader you. A stronger you. A you where the ups and downs of life find lightness of being.