How far are they running?
Where is their water?
Katy Perry playlist?
How is it possible to run long distances without these things?
I feel very 2014 when I come across these guys; geared-out, plugged-in and un-zen. Nevertheless, on a regular day, I'm loaded down with my hydration pack, iPhone, gels/snacks, car keys and small ninja weapon, ready for any hiccup along the way. I wish I didn't feel like I needed all that crap, but when I'm out on the trail solo (with a questionable sense of direction), I want to be prepared. I've seen Dateline NBC, folks. Bad stuff does happen.
Of course, my favorite (if fictional) "unplugged," "zen-ish" runner is Forrest Gump. I make my husband watch that movie with me at least once a year; this is no small feat due to the fact that he also has to listen as I recite almost every word. Not sure why, but he finds this slightly annoying (?!).
Anyway, its hard to choose a favorite Forrest Gump scene, but the running scene gets me every time (I'm also a sucker for the shrimp-boat part, but that's not exactly relevant here). I think most runners can relate to his journey. It's about finding yourself, defining your life, staying grounded and, in Forrest's case, moving on (damn you, Jenny!). Running is therapy; for your mind, body, soul and quads. Periodically removing all the extra gear/baggage aids in the therapy-area of the running routine, for me, anyway.
To truly un-plug from the rest of the high-speed world is to plug-in to your body, to quietly focus on your blessings and to enjoy the beauty of the trail and the world around you.
So, I make it a point every now and then to go for a run totally solo; no devices, no distractions. Just me & the trail, for as long as I feel like it, sans agenda or goal. I try to do my "zen-running" in an area that's well-traveled, safe and usually with a loop trail, so I'm never too far from my car. I'm not gonna go totally backwoods, ya'll.
Yesterday I ran for about an hour at Robious Landing Park in Midlothian. This is a nice little spot right on the James River. I ran 4 laps around their 1.5 mile loop trail. If I were a truly unplugged runner, I wouldn't have been counting laps, but we all have our quirks. The mostly-flat trail is hard-packed gravel and dirt, with some pretty serious mud in certain spots, especially close to the river. I would have snapped a photo, but I that would have been a very un-Forrest Gump thing to do.
It was so quiet; the only sounds were the river rushing, my feet hitting the ground (or slipping in the mud) and the squirrels throwing acorns at me. Every now and then, I'd hear a dog barking or a kid laughing. After 6ish miles, I figured that was far enough; I headed home to hang with my little family, refreshed and feeling pretty dang zen.