Finding Joy in the Bare Essentials

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Had a great day on Sunday – went out for a race. I don’t do it very often. Races are getting more expensive. But there is a series of races that are more than reasonably priced and run by a great guy called Ian Cornelius on the Gold Coast in Australia. Today’s race was the Kurrawa 2 Duranbah 50k. I did the 50k last year but this year due to some training issues, I only did the 15k.

It was a great race, as usual – Ian really does put on great events. And I PB’d which was a bonus. But something struck me in the wait between picking up my number and the start of the race…

Hear me right before I go on – each to their own. But, I couldn’t help but look around me and think of how complex and complicated we humans have made such a simple and natural thing like running!

Ian organises his events beautifully with aid stations every 2.5km. Yet, people are turning up with camelback bladders, bottle holsters and hydration packs. People were into an amazing array of weird and wonderful stretching techniques and warm-up programs. The clothing and gadgetry on display was blinding (boy there are some bright coloured running clothes out there)!! Special foods, drinks and other concoctions were being mixed, stirred and shaken prior to the race. People programmed playlists in their iProducts in preparation for their performance (just had to go with the alliteration there – sorry)! All this for a 15km plod along the beachfront with not only the aid stations, but beach showers and park drinking fountains the whole way!

Now again, each to their own. And I must say that I just don’t take myself – or events like this – too seriously. So if you do, I sincerely extend my apologies if you are upset by my description. But having said that, even those people would have to admit there is something to be said for getting back to the NoXS, raw and primal thing we call running.
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Me, I turned up in my shorts a T-shirt and my Luna huarache sandals. I forgot there would be a timing chip so I had to carry it in my pocket but bring it out and hold it low travelling over the timing mat. (The picture here is me finishing having just got the chip out of my pocket and holding it as low as I could so it would register without me falling over). But that was it. Nothing else.

I love ultra runners like Anton Krupricka and their approach to minimalist running. Anton usually gets around in nothing but shorts, sometimes a singlet. I’ve seen him running in a race with a short sleeve button shirt on! He likes his shoes minimal and until he was sponsored and had some custom shoes made, he would cut the excessive foam off his shoes. He trains barefoot often. He eats simply, trains basically and hates to carry excessive gear on the trails during training preferring to carry just a bottle of water and a few gels on 30mile training runs.

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But he does this because he knows he doesn’t have to make it complicated. He knows that running is a simple process and pleasure that requires, really, no more than putting one foot in front of the other over and over on a road or a trail for a period of time, short or long. Nothing more really needed.

As I ran my 15k with my hands free, my feet open and a smile on my face, I thought about how many activities in life I make so complicated that we miss the simple joy of what it is we are actually doing.

What things/activities in your life would be so much more enjoyable if they were so much simpler. How can you change things so they are simpler and more enjoyable?

Have a think about that one. Let me know what you come up with…

Live Simply & Simply Live,

Mark G

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