Marathon Running, Floating & Our Fullest Potential
The reason I took up running marathons is multifaceted. It involves a series of confrontations with particular ideas about living and being a Human. Namely; what is our fullest potential?
It is easy to imagine the answer to this question in its negative sense. What if an individual permits an ungoverned expression of all their bad habits? This could be a poor diet, a lack of honesty, bad relationships with substances, a poor work ethic, and so on. It is obvious that the individual in question would slowly become overtaken by these poor habits. They will slowly walk, step by step, into a swamp that they can never escape from. Or rather, get swept up in a landslide that began with a few loose, tumbling pebbles. Worst of all, in this case, it will be their own doing, the consequences of willful blindness. We have all seen wrecked humans in this situation. No health, no money, no goals, no one to come to their aid, nothing. In the end the last of their spark may be extinguished by a final drug overdose or some other tragic finale.
But imagine the alternative. What is the destiny of an individual who opts to open their eyes? What would become of the person who aims to recognize their own faults in character and strive for their sake and others to improve upon them or integrate them in a more healthy and productive manner? What if the individual went on an intentional quest to seek out their most formidable demons in the darkest recesses of their psyche? What if we aimed to capitalize on our personality and using each day as an opportunity to observe who we are through an honest confrontation with ourselves, with eyes wide open?
Running marathons is a part of this series of questions for me. I want to see what this body is capable of doing. I want to see what my mind is capable of surmounting. I believe the mind, body and soul to be inexorably connected. One cannot be affected without affecting the others. A marathon is a painful physical endeavour indeed, but it is even more so a psychological accomplishment.
The point here is that, in the first example, the individual who let their life fall apart may be forgiven for their unsavoury path. Life is brutal. It is difficult. It is not fair. It is painful and heart wrenching. We are all going to loose everything in the end. There is no shortage of reasons to opt out of our lives, to slowly become bitter, to descend into a drug dependancy, etc. It is a true leap of faith to embrace the struggle of life voluntarily.
It takes courage beyond measure to show up naked before the trials of life as you are.
I run Marathons because I believe life to be the greatest challenge. I run marathons to train for life. After finishing my first 42.5Km race I was overcome with tears and emotion. I had just watched myself tolerate and persevere through more pain than I would have ever thought was reasonable before hand. It gave me a newfound source of self-respect and confidence. I carry that with me now. I know I can handle the challenge. I bore witness to it.
This is not a perfect science mind you. My attitude towards life ebbs and flows day by day. Sometimes swinging towards such pronounced negativity that I easily become fooled into feeling I have not grown at all. This is not to say that I still don’t have a long path ahead. I still repeatedly fall to the influence of greater emotions. I still struggle to understand and negate the ways particular to me in which I sabotage my relationships and myself. But like the Marathon, I must keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep going. Forgive myself, and keep moving forward despite the pain, because the finish line is glorious.
In the end, I know I am stronger now than any time previous. I am slowly becoming who I am meant to be like a river eroding a mountain. The exciting part for me are the questions “what are the upper limits to this personal and, more broadly, human development?” “Is there an upper limit? Questions of this sort inform my path forward.
Now the compensatory side of the story needs a voice. A light bulb that is on 24/7 will burn out far faster than a light bulb that is switched off when no one is in the room. A human is similar. We cannot be going at max output every single day. One will go crazy, probably loose their health and maybe even die an untimely death. I have been learning the hard and stubborn way that weneedrest. We need to recover. I see it in myself as my mind starts to spin out of control, my emotions deregulate and my body breaks down when the daily grind become too relentless. Thus I arrive at The Floatation Centre for a much needed pause.
In my experience the flotation tanks provide an endless amount of benefit. Floating weightless on the salt water gives my body a critical chance to heal and let go of tension. I can tune into the parts of my body that are in more pain than others and this informs my subsequent yoga and other recovery routines. I can feel certain muscles twitch and shake as my body slowly let’s go. The added advantage of not perceiving any light, sound or smell allows my psyche to wind down and reflect, plan, and dream in a much more relaxed and effective manner. Beyond that, my mind occasionally stops all together and I am just left alone with my breath and my beating heart. Those peaceful moments in the tank are some of the most rejuvenating experiences I have ever had. Let alone the insight into myself gained from a total absence of outside stimulation has been pivotal for cultivating more self-awareness. I have made many of my major life decisions in the tanks. At this point, floating is indispensable.
The float tanks are a blessing and The Floatation Centre is a gift for anyone with a body and a mind that needs a break and needs to heal. I offer many thanks to Lindsay, Palmer, and the rest of the team for providing such a wonderful service to everyone in HRM.
And of course, thank you dearly for supporting my running.