Running and Composing

To be clear from the beginning, I am an amateur runner. For many years I have been working out at gym, mostly to improve my physical ability. Sometime it lasted 2 years, and then I became a bit lazy, then I went back again for a year, and then took a break for months, and so on. When I had the traffic accident in 2011, for entire year I was unable to go to gym. From there till the beginning of this year, again I was going back and forth. I was never a runner: I only ran 10~15 minutes combining with fast walking. Fast walking is good too. The point for me was to sweat. Sweating made me feel like I did exercise. Last year I went out to run again on street, but it was a bit hard, and my mind always was shaken by the weather condition. (Hey, I am living in the Netherlands, the wind/rain country!) So it wasn’t so successful. I only ran once or twice per week, always ended up having muscle pain, and didn’t want to go out again.

From January 2015, I started going to gym again. This time, I really set my mind to be discipline, mostly because my mood had been down for awhile, due to external reasons. I had become quite negative, and I was going through many things in life. When turning into the new year, one of my resolution is to go to the gym again. It started nicely. I enjoyed working out again. Then there were two major issues happened in my life. In February my boy friend -now ex- and I broke up, and in March my father suddenly passed away. I needed to move out of the house where I was living, and I went to Korea for 2 weeks for my father’s funeral. It was hard. Meanwhile, I kept on working out. -of course I couldn’t, while I was in Korea.- When I came back to the Netherlands, I really needed some help. But it was more important for me to help myself as much as I could. I needed a big change from inside. Seriously running was one of the helps.

As I was not a serious runner, I could only run -at the moment when I was trying to really run- 2.5 km. This took me 15~20 minutes of running. Still it made me feel very good. Then I slowly increased the distance but didn’t care so much about the speed. I ran 3km, 3.5km, and 4km. I ran every two days. The day I ran and the day I didn’t made a huge difference for the day. My mood was very much depending on my physical activities. Because of that, when I didn’t run, I went out to take a long walk for an hour and a half. That made a bit different. Now, it is a bit too early to say after few months of running, but I increased my running distance into 5.5 km average. I am planning 6.5 km for daily running. And once in awhile I’d like to go on 10~12km. I feel I can do that, but I am still careful not to get injured, and my already-injured left leg by the previous accident can’t handle well much. -It is a very nice discovery thanks to the running. My two legs have different stamina.- After 5.5km of running, I feel that I can run much longer. But I stop, since I know that my mind always goes ahead of my body.

My current house mate is a real runner. He does a full marathon here and there. 42km of running. He was a big inspiration for me to run too. He gave me a lot of insight about what running is about, and he recommended a book to me recently by Murakami Haruki, ‘What I talk about when I talk about running.’ This book is a memoire, he talks about the relationship of long distance running and his writing. A wonderful book. This was a big motivation for me. Mainly because I really wanted to ‘use’ this difficult moment of my life into a new one. I wanted to reborn. Running has become the main tool for that so far.

I see a number of connections between running and composing. Let’s say, rather than composing, a creative work. How we go into the flow of thoughts, how much efforts we need -in order to sit down and start working-, and how much concentration is needed. I see those process from running. How I communicate with my own body, how today’s work moves into tomorrow’s. How I can pass the ‘difficult moment’ in order to just go on. Fighting with myself constantly without knowing any answer. The flow of running, the void of thought that running gives every time, can be compared to the flow of thinking process, the composing process too. Running can be painful. -yeah too early to say when running 5~6 km. But still I have my own standard!- It gives me lots of temptations to ‘stop for a moment,’ ‘drink a water,’ ‘my leg is a bit numb,’ ‘I feel like falling down,’ ‘maybe I am dizzy,’ ‘I ran maybe too much,’ and so on. Then I stop thinking there, and just kept running. Quite a few things sound familiar to what I think of when I am composing. The fear.
Not only mentally, running helps my daily composing process physically too. I have a full energy till the end of the day when I am running in the morning. I seek for healthy food naturally. This is quite an amazing, natural change. I lost around 3 kg too.
I am really happy that I got into this. -rather than drinking, overeating, and smoking.- Somehow I feel that it saves me from many things around especially last months having hard issues. Now in the morning I want to go to run. I am very excited to run. After running, I feel grateful. Then I carry this feeling to composing. The level of confidence, and the level of fear are very different from before. My father always told me that people who have a job requiring more brain activities than physical ones need much more physical exercise. I fully agree.

I have a new goal too: to try a half marathon. I wish I can do that near the future. I just started writing an ensemble piece too. I wish they develop together. Running and Composing.

** Small update on the date 18/June/2015
: it’s been a month since I wrote this post. Now I am running 8km/day. Still with lots of joy, lots of energy. Something I’ve added to this activity is meditation. Maybe I write about it someday.

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