My first official long run training weekend for the 2011-2012 race season went well. Yes, it was hot, but I took my time, followed my breath, ran cautiously and logged nearly three hours on Saturday morning and nearly two more on Sunday.
Recovery was challenging but not unexpectedly so; I obviously still have some heat acclimation work to do and, given the times and temps during both runs, my energy levels were low for most of the weekend. As a result my attitude was a bit on the cranky side too, but at least I was aware of it. All in all, not a bad start to training. I am participating in a sesshin this coming weekend which will make long runs impossible, but my race training will resume in full next week.
Recently I sat immediately after a run and noticed it felt like the third or fourth sit of a zazenkai or sesshin, rather than a first sit. Usually it takes a few sits into a Zen retreat for your mind to stop churning, but I’m guessing that thanks largely to the run I was able to “go deep” pretty much right away. A lot of the mind-emptying you normally have to do in the early part of a zazenkai or sesshin is probably handled quite efficiently during a typical training run … you almost literally run your thoughts into the ground. For some reason, that realization struck me during this particular sit.
I’m more convinced than ever that there are millions of runners all over the world who are meditating and don’t even know it.