I’m listening to a podcast at the moment, the first of a series called, “Safety Third” (being aired on its parent program, “Dirt Bag Diaries”). The person in the program is talking about base jumping, but the main point of the program is not what I’m focusing on right now. What I am taking away right now is something the speaker just said, and it has struck a cord so deeply in me that my entire body is reverberating with its truth: adventure is an art.
The speaker, an avid climber, is talking about why he got into base jumping. It wasn’t for the adrenaline, it wasn’t for the fame; it was for the opportunity to do something new, like coming to a mountain no has ever climbed and figuring out to do it. That process is as creative, he says, as drawing or painting.
My reaction — heck yeah, he’s got it!!
This is EXACTLY why I run. Yes, I know I am not any great adventurer. I haven’t packed my bags and gone off to Nepal or the Sahara or Kilimanjaro. The places I choose, however, are normally not the usual places hosting the general congo line of pavement pounders, shuffling along paths that to me are predictable and boring. I explore where I am and use my paths to discover the world around me.
Here is the point though: to me, certain paths are boring; to others, they are an adventure. Perhaps it’s the first time running at all. Perhaps that congo line represents a change of some sort — of surroundings, of habits, of people — all these things represent a fresh canvas in a person’s life, a new set of boundaries to take one out of the comfort zone and into the unknown. Navigating through the unknown – therein lies the creative process.
For example, when I am out in the car or visiting somewhere, I am constantly wondering, “what would it be like to run here?” I drive a certain road as it stretches before me, undulating through towns and farms for miles and miles, and I dream about how I might feel, running from x to y. Who would I meet, how would I fuel, how fast and far could I go?
Thinking, planning, and acting on these journeys is indeed a creative process. Sometimes, like now as I make my final preparations for my next big race, the process scares me. I struggle with angry butterflies swirling from the pit of my stomach, filling me with fear. How will my project end? Will the results be pretty or just one hot mess? Will it be worthy of pride or just the trash bin?
Whatever the outcome, I know that I like standing before that empty canvas of possibilities. I can’t wait to see what my training and my vision will bring to life.
THIS is why I run. This adventure, this ART, fills me with joy. It is creative, spontaneous, beautiful, risky, and challenging. It doesn’t always turn out right, but if it did, it wouldn’t be creative. It’d just be predictable. Who on earth wants that?
Go out, face your canvas, and make some art!