I just got back from a run outside. It’s 25 degrees. I would so much rather run outside, if it’s say, over 20 degrees, than run on a treadmill. Last winter was the first winter I got serious about running outside and it was awesome-sauce, as the Greeks say. There’s just something about being outside that spurs me on, while to be honest, it’s easier for me to give up on a treadmill. And even though I’ve been running 3-7 days a week for about twenty years (which you can read about in Pt. 1 of this series), I still give up sometimes. Especially on treadmills. There’s two things I don’t like about treadmills. The first is associated with one of the greatest fears every runner has: forgive me for being graphic, the treadmill makes my bowels seem looser and the possibility losing control of them more looming than running outside. I can’t really explain why this is the case, but it does make me feel like that. I speculate that it’s something about the way the belt gives in, nah, ok, I really don’t know. But anyway, that happens. I don’t like it.
The other thing about treadmills is that I don’t feel like I can adapt my pace and my stride to whatever is happening with my body in the moment on a treadmill. That work of adapting my body and paying attention to my body to make microadjustments as I run became important to me after reading two books, Chris McDougall’s Born to Run and Matt Fitzgerald’s Brain Training for Runners. While McDougall’s book gives the larger anthropological and evolutionary account of why that’s important, Fitzgerald’s gives the specific advice about how to do it well. Read more
Let me just recommend first, philosophy conferences in Vancouver; second, starting your conference off with a good night’s sleep and a long run in the beauty of nature. I ran 11 miles through Stanley Park and then Vancouver this morning where I’m attending the Pacific American Philosophical Assoication (APA). As I ran, the view changed from the seawall and evergreens to mountains. It was beautiful. It was stunning. I thought of C.S.Lewis’s claim that beauty produces a need to share it with someone else. I was out there, running through Stanley Park, thinking, this is amazing, do the others not know about this? I need to capture this so they can see it. I kicked myself for not taking my phone with me.
And it was in that moment where I recognized my desire not just to share it, but to capture it that I was brought up short. I was running without any music or podcasts in my ears so I had plenty of time to think this through. It struck me as I continued to run and to think that beauty exceeds apprehension, not just, as we know from Kant, because it exceeds the boundaries of the concept, but also, because it cannot be had. It cannot be owned. It cannot become a commodity that I can have that shows something good about me on the basis of having seen it. I reached out to grasp this beauty and I could not hold on to it. I couldn’t master it. But I wanted to. Beauty is liberating because it disrupts the drive to mastery.
Image above does not do justice, give the proper due, to the beauty of my morning. Taken from the balcony of my room.
We just got back from a week in Yellowstone. We stayed in cabins in the Cinnabar Basin right outside of Gardiner, Montana along the Yellowstone River with my husband’s parents, sister and brother-in-law, their three kids, his aunt and uncle, their two kids and their families and one of his cousin’s husband’s parents. For twenty-one separate wills vying for satisfaction and recognition, it was a remarkably pleasant week. Read more