Running and Sailing: Feeling Alive

For the past few days, I have been suffering through a bit of writer’s block. There are a wealth of topics I want to write on, but I am repeatedly failing to get exactly what I want to say on paper. I thought I would be able to simply and freely be able to put words to the page when writing for the blog in a way I can never do when I am writing academically. But I am finding that I have a different set of hang-ups that make blogging nearly as difficult as getting a couple pages of a chapter down.

Running has been on my mind even more than it usually is the past few weeks, and it is one of the topics I have been trying in vain to write about. Over the past two weeks I have been running again after a forced ten week running hiatus following our charter in Charlotte Harbor. While coming into Barnacles on North Captiva Island, I managed to break two toes, which took an obnoxiously long time to heal. But the toes are finally healed and It has been wonderful to once again feel the burn as I struggle up hills, realize I am getting a little more fit with each run, think and relax while the miles tick by, and see for myself all the evidence that spring is coming (including the emerging pussy willows that I just saw today). The running has come easy…putting in words what I love so much about it has been hard.

So, instead of continuing to suffer over this blog post, I will instead point you to best story I know of about running. Roger Hart, in his simply titled “Runners”, does a far better job than I ever could of getting to the heart of what I love so much about running, that feeling of being alive.

I find that the feeling of vitality I get out of running is something that I also get out of sailing, especially cruising. In sailing, though, the feeling is even more amplified for me than it is with running. Or, to put it another way, there are even more ways in which I feel really alive while sailing. It comes from the overwhelming sense of accomplishment when I complete a voyage. It comes from being cognizant of the earth through the wind and seas, of the solar system through the tides and lunar phases, of the universe through the spinning stars. It comes from harnessing – and being at the mercy of – the natural forces. While my runs give me a glimpse into this vivification every day, Margaret and I are both looking forward to continually being more thoroughly enmeshed in the natural world and overwhelmingly aware that we are, indeed, alive when we go cruising. And, god, it will feel so good.

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