Exhausting, unhappy week behind me. Slept in the morning and got up when I felt like it. A couple hours later, I got out for my run. I intended to go five, but with the route I planned being 4.5, would probably just end there (at the grocery). Would be happy getting to 4 without drama.
The first mile was tough. I didn't drink last night, but felt hungover anyway. Very tired, very slow. Maybe it was that I got warmed up or the advil was kicking in, but during mile two I started to feel better. Getting into the park was great - everybody was out there and getting some sun and exercise. This is the nice side of New York and it's been a long time since I enjoyed that! The park looked so beautiful and it was neat seeing all the little babies in strollers and on leashes toddling around. Even though the loop was quite congested, for some reason the dodge-the-other-people game didn't get frustrating or difficult, didn't turn into dodge-the-damn-idiots game. :)
And man what a perfect day for a run! 70 degrees, sunny, light breeze. My sunlight-starved body appreciated being out there. I took off my shirt at the top of the slope, a mile into my run, and tucked it into my waistband. Like a hungry solar cell, my skin was just gulping in the photonic Vitamin D. Maybe that's what made me feel better soon after?
Everything about the rest of the run was so familiar, so comforting. It was nice to feel my body responding a little better than I'd predicted; nice to feel my legs working and not getting too fatigued too fast. Nice to feel the sweat and the slow build-up of salt on my arms and legs. Nice to feel the weight of my iphone and folded up shirt bobbing on my waistband. Nice to return a stray soccer ball with a little sideways kick; nice to smell the cookouts; nice to hear people laughing instead of grumbling or cursing. Nice to hear the different music being played on radios or snatches of the Mets game. Nice to hear the slap-slap-slap of my feet on the pavement; so very nice to hear the hu-hu-wh-wh-wh of my pursed-lip 2-in-3-out breathing pattern.
I didn't think about much on this run. I have a lot to do with weekend, but am happy putting my run first and waiting for tomorrow's rain for anything involving my desk or my computer. I did have a random thought, though, that so much of what people use religion for is not necessarily a direct derivative of religion. For instance, spirituality can be had without subscribing to any particular religion, or even believing in God. It may not be the same kind of spirituality that the Orthodox Jew or the devout Catholic next door have, but it can be had nonetheless. And since it is not a proscribed spirituality, it may, ultimately, be a more meaningful spirituality.
Similarly, morality is not somethign that requires religion in order to exist, to be held as a value, to be acted upon. Morality is quite a separate thing and can be derived from our inherent sense of right and wrong; and refined by the teaching of our parents and mentors. While some people choose to use priests and the church as one of those teachers, and to use the religious texts as their blueprint to their morality, the result is still very individualized, as far as I can tell, and always a derivative of the prime example being followed.
So perhaps this explains why some people have high moral standards or are quite spiritual yet have no ties to organized religion. This suits me fine, actually. I wish I knew more about these subjects, because I suspect that this line of thinking has already been well hashed out somewhere and has some kind of label. Is this what it means to be Humanist? Uh.... paging Lisa Simpson....
So my run went. I had an amazing long, continuous section of running once I reached the top of the big hill in the Prospect Park all the way down to the grocery. Not fast, but the kind of continuity I'm looking for more of. Just as I was exiting the park, RunKeeper announced I'd hit mile 5. Really? Then I realized that it was right, that my math of the intended route had been wrong. Well...I was already moving and moving well, and since it was downhill, I'd just keep going 'til I had to stop for a light or hit Chase, where I needed to get some cash - so half a mile later there I was - a 5.48 mile run for the day. Completely unexpected going that long and a nice surprise that I could even do it without collapsing. Still, I recognized that I probably should have taken more than a bottle of water with me. This run should have had some HEED in it.