iSportsAnalysis are serialising “Running Sussed”, a book by ex international runner Julia Chi Taylor. In today’s chapter Julia will be talking about “Creating the Picture”. Thank you Julia Chi for sharing your wisdom and insights.
It is a book to open people to the ‘how to run” aspect – or “how to become a runner“ and yes, definitely those who haven’t run much and a interested to follow a path of least resistance
But – it also has a philosophical aspect that means that people who have run for years can get something from it – some deeper insight or connection to themselves through the art of running.
Julia has been running all of her life, it has informed how she has chosen to live from a very young age and has been the bedrock of her ‘practice’ both physical and spiritual – in fact it has become her spiritual practice through the mirror of seeing herself reflected back in her running endeavours.
Julia achieved her first international vest at the age of 19 and went on to run at international level for the next 13 years.
Her most notable achievements were winning the Dublin City Marathon, being placed 7th woman in the London Marathon (3rd British) in a time of 2.36.31 and competing in the Commonwealth Games Marathon in 1986.
Chapter 12: Positive alignment
When the body is in perfect alignment you can run all day. Our ancestors did just that. To run was to survive; if you couldn’t run then you didn’t eat and it was very much about survival of the fittest. We now live in a society that allows for ill health in that is supports those who haven’t looked after their bodies and it is possible to survive with hardly moving at all; and yet we were meant to move. In movement there is energy and release and clearing of all the emotional stuff that has got stuck in the body and in movement is full self expression.
Ideally we are aligned and balanced when we are little; but of course this isn’t necessarily the case, as even a challenging birth can mean that we start life slightly out of balance; and of course the generational and ancestral patterns can also be within our bodies. If our parents had an awareness of the need to be straight and balanced and true, for innate health and wellbeing, then they might have taken us to a cranial osteopath when we were little, but this is often not the case.
And even so even if we are blessed with a ‘balanced beginning’ then there is the inevitable rough and tumble of childhood, falling about in the fields and in the playground, in the home, out of trees, off walls! And then there is school, from freedom of movement to being sat at a desk and immediately the patterns can start to become entrenched of poor posture and inactivity. We are meant to move our bodies and in all different directions and the spine needs to be flexible and strong.
So after years of either inactivity, or maybe activity that was hard for the body, ruby or football, that saw us bash and twist and turn, or a sport that is one sided like golf and asks a lot of the back – or simply a life of inactivity for perhaps many years, which ash meant the muscles are weak and maybe we are carrying too much weight, then the running journey can start off a bit sticky.
It can be helpful to think of the running as a way of finding out where we need attention. This is why getting too fixed on an outcome can be hazardous to a continuation and an enjoyment of the sport. By all means set a goal, for instance completing a 10k – and even in a certain time goal; but then let go of any attachment to the outcome, this way you will be able to pay more attention to the issues of imbalance as they arise.
Rather than seeing injury or pain as something to be resented and angry and frustrated about, re frame it that it is the bodies’ way of alerting you to the fact that some attention is needed.
At a deeper level, the North American Indians see pain in the legs as weakness leaving the body… So pain is speaking to you, it has a message for you …
There is also a belief that the truth of our childhood is stored up in our body – and although we might suppress it and push it out of sight, it remains that our childhood needs to be resolved, because however much we deny things, manipulate our intellect or change our feelings or try to confuse our own inner truth, even taking pills to repress what is occurring – our body will always speak to us, it does not want to evade the truth, the child within, like a child wants to tell the truth of who we are; and running will inevitably allow the pain to start to surface and come up for healing and wholeness and demand that we connect to who we truly are.
And so every single thing that you feel in your body, welcome and work with. Of course it is important to address the injuries and imbalances on a physical level; there are some great sports therapists who will work alongside you to regain the freedom of expression you once knew.
The running journey is resonant of the TS Elliot quote ‘And the end of all our exploring will be to return to the place we first begun and to know it for the first time.
Your body is made up of energy and energy can be moved and transformed. Most of our body is made up of space, and it is the density of the way we think that can stick us in holding patterns, that we then think of as real. When I was 16 I read Jonathan Livingston seagull and a quote that resonated with me and still does is
‘Tour whole body from wingtip to wingtip is no more than thought itself in a form you can see, break the chains of your thought and you breaks the chains of your body too’.
So injury is more about attitude and awareness than anything.
Stretching the body is different to pushing it too hard – stretching so it can grow, expanding its possibilities, but this is done with attention to clearing the blocks and working with the imbalances as they arise, working on posture and alignment, exercising the core muscles, becoming agile and supple, soft and strong.
It is about learning to be still within the motion. This way you will be able to be patient and take the time necessary to develop your body and mind to accomplish more than you would ever have dreamed. Always tell yourself that there is no rush, you have all the time in the world, you have this moment that expands into infinity and is there for you to live fully and freely and to connect to your own truth and to the source which is divine love where there is no fear because perfect love casteth out fear .
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016. Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!