Turning Lead to Energy (the Primal Kind)
Standing at the bottom of what seems an insurmountable task, literally. My body feels like I have lead coursing through my veins. My lower back is sore from yesterday’s trip to the osteopath. My knee is still acting up from pulling my T-Band last week. I can see my destination, way up at the top of the Mt-Royal. I usually spot it, visualize myself there, say go, and don’t stop until I get there. But today, the word “go” is hard to pronounce. But the sun is shining and I strongly believe that something more powerful than myself will be waiting for me when I get there.
And so I “go”, at a nice steady pace. That’s the beauty of a Primal Run, there are no rules, no time limits, you follow the flow of your body and the world around you. If you’ve read my post on Primal Energy, you know that the first step to tapping into it is endorphin production, and so I cut through the woods and head straight for the massive staircase which is guaranteed to kick things into gear. And it does! I’ve been hitting the stairs twice a week and so I push myself hard to fly up to the top. Bounding them 2 by 2, my legs give out with 6 steps left, 6! I crawl up the final steps and take a minute or two to get over the bit of nausea creeping in. And then I begin the Endorphin Maximization process.
This process was developed to try and improve my recovery time in between rounds of Muay Thai training. I quickly realized that not only was I recovering physically, but I was able to use it for mental recovery as well. The secret is to fight whatever your body wants to do instinctively. When physical exhaustion sets in our tendencies are often to:
- Breath heavily – so you’ll want to slow down your breathing as quickly as possible. Rather than short shallow breaths through the mouth, you’ll want to take long deep breaths through the nose. Focus especially on slowing down when you exhale, it will help to activate the “feel good” system in the brain.
- Bend forward – as soon as you stop an intense physical outburst, you often find yourself bent over, with your hands on your knees, or desperate to sit down in the same bent over position. Fight this urge. Throw your shoulders back, and look up to the sky. This will not only help you expand your rib cage and improve your breathing, but this strong confident position will do wonders for mental recovery.
- Feel progressively more fatigued – This is by far my favorite part. If you let the feeling of exhaustion settle in, it will often increase as time goes by. But if you take control of it right away, you can transform it into very powerful energy. Feel your heart beating out of your chest. Pump yourself up. Growl if you need to (works for me). This is where I “awaken the wolf”, and it’s what makes the next part of the run so much better.
After going through this recovery and energy building process, I am ready for the next challenge – to head back into the woods and continue to the apex of my journey. The path I take is an awesome blend of slight ups and downs, allowing for short sprints and recoveries, to continue the endorphin production process. By the time I get to “my spot”, my heart is pumping and I can already feel the energy building up inside me. After a short recovery period, I find a soft and secluded spot to sit down and meditate. It’s important here to not wait too long before beginning the meditation process. You really want to feel that intensity coursing through you when you close your eyes and slow down your breathing.
In order to connect with the Primal Energy, I tend to follow the same basic steps each time:
- Sit down, back straight, shoulders back, legs slightly crossed.
- Start by taking a few extra deep breaths with eyes open. This allows me to take in my surroundings and really connect with it. Connecting with the planet is an important step.
- When I close my eyes, I slow down my breathing and try to focus on the sounds around me. The birds, the wind, running water near by, the distant sounds of the city. Slowly, I feel the transformation happening. I know when this begins to happen when a tingling sensation spreads throughout my body, a sense of weightlessness. As soon as this happens, I open my eyes.
- When I open my eyes, it’s as if I am looking upon the world with different eyes. The colours seem brighter, everything seems sharper. I slowly get up and start to walk. Then jog. Then run.
This is the true nature of the Wolf Run, or the Primal Run. My legs feel so strong. I feel as though something is pushing me forward, driving me to challenge myself. I’ll seek out hills to climb, rocks to scale, trees to zig zag through. I look for trees to climb, logs to lift or balance on. IT IS SUCH AN AWESOME FEELING!!!! Especially today. When I think back on how sluggish and unmotivated I felt at the start of this run, and how incredibly strong and energized I feel at the end of it, it makes it even more amazing.
Primal Energy is all around us. We have all felt it at some point, but to consciously seek it out is to take control of it, to harness it and use it. It clears the mind, energizes the body and lifts our spirit to a whole other level.
*** To anyone from Montreal, I’ll be setting up some Peacewolf Primal Runs this spring. Send me your contact information if you want more information. ***