Time well spent

By Fred Deckert

Running is bor…ing! So is walking, according to many of my acquaintances. Admitted, if all you do is think about is putting one foot ahead of the other. Fortunately, running and walking take very little concentration, so your mind is free to wander while you’re getting your exercise. I find that running is more conducive to meditation than sitting in a chair contemplating your navel. As a matter of fact, none other than running guru Dr. George Sheehan said that he wouldn’t trust any ideas that came to him while sitting down.

You can find theories that claim the jarring of your foot strike kills the brain cells that are already in short supply, but my perception is that running, jogging or walking stimulates thought. I’ve solved many world problems while on the road, unfortunately I can’t get the forum necessary to promote those grand ideas. But, closer to home, I have often clarified my own ideas or plans out on the road, away from distractions. In addition much frustration and anger has been left out on the asphalt where it harms no one.

Some acquaintances have asked me how much time I spend on the road, and insist they don’t have that much time to “waste.” For the record, I spend about 7 hours a week jogging and 5 walking. I hear the cry; “That’s over an hour and a half a day!” Sure, but I figure it’s well spent, far better than raising my blood pressure watching physical and verbal violence on TV or getting frustrated on what is or isn’t in the paper. Not that I’m pure, I get caught often enough wasting my time channel surfing for the rare program worth civilized attention. I hear also that since I’m retired I can afford to spend that much time on the road. Well, while I was working for a living I spent almost as much time doing the same thing, before breakfast every morning. It’s remarkable what a new face the day takes when you sit down for breakfast feeling you’ve already accomplished something worthwhile.

Not all of us are morning people although I recommend giving the early hours a fair try. Some of us can spend a lunch hour, often with friends rejuvenating the body and mind. The late starters can try evening runs. Running schedules are almost infinitely variable. While running with your friends is fun, don’t cut short the advantages of a solo run, where not even the distraction of conversation disturbs your tranquility.