This morning, for the very first time that I can remember, I ran with the dog we have had for 2½ years. We ran for two miles (total of 2138.1) in 17:19—excluding the time for the three times she stopped for various bathroom breaks. She ran negative splits with me—meaning that the second mile was faster than the first. It was a very nice experience as I had to both get the dog walked and run just a little bit—and for me two miles is definitely just a little bit.
Other than the ct that I had not done this before, what did it make me ponder this morning? It made my ponder running as an art form. I realize that some people may find the proposition that running is an art form to be unusual or completely wrong. But I see it as art. Why?
Well, there are actually several reasons. First of all, it inspires me to express myself. It inspires me to write. And that is a very important thing to me. The writing is not always particularly artistic. But it is my form of creating something new. Something that no one else has created before. And while some “paint” with a brush. And others may “paint” with their music. I “paint” with my words.
What is even more interesting to me is to think that I, in some ways, paint with my steps on the road. In fact, I have drawn a course for one person when I sent a card wishing good luck for the Boston marathon. And I sometimes sketch out the course that I have run just to see what it looks like. And I have thought about what colors to make the course. Should I vary the color by speed? Should I vary the color by how I am feeling? Should I vary the color by any other characteristic or criterion? Or should I just draw it out in pencil or pen to show the shape of what I ran rather than trying to make it art.
And, on top of that, the other key question is how to show the steps, if at all? Obviously, I can draw the course just as a line. Or, if I wanted to show a course I had run solo, I could show the course with two feet making footprints. When I run with a partner there would be two sets of footsteps. On a run like yesterday morning there would be four sets of footprints. But this morning there would have been on set of human footprints and one set of canine footprints.
Thus, my title—changing patterns.
Changing patterns sometimes is challenging. It is easy to stick with what I know as habit. Changing patterns can take a lot of effort. There is a certain inertia to just doing what I have been doing for some time. Changing patters requires more thought than just stick with the same old. Changing patterns requires different thinking. Changing patterns often requires planning. And changing patterns requires commitment.
All of this thinking from running with a dog rather than on my own? Indeed. Inspired by thinking about how the painting would look if I drew shoes and dogs feet in a pattern around the shape of the course I ran. And, how would it change my art? And how would it change the meaning? And how would it change the experience? All of these are questions I ask as I run with another—in this case another completely dependent on me—to make us both happy. Shared happiness is definitely a changed pattern on a morning that otherwise would have been a solo run. It is a better pattern that I hope to carry into the future on days of very short runs. And shared happiness is better than alone happiness any time.
For someone who was once seen as quite the introvert that is perhaps the biggest changed pattern. Relishing shared happiness—even in running.