Open minded curiosity is essential for inspiration to take flight in any worthy pursuit, not only art. Observing without preconceived notions increases empathy and opportunity for learning.
Inquisitive nature may direct you to unexpected wondrous discoveries, passions, or a brand new path in life.
Compassion for a friend moved me to run my first 5k race. Desire to understand a strangers ill temper inspired me to run a marathon.
My favourite kindergarten recess activity was to run the perimeter of the playground until the bell rang. Besides being fun, it reduced awkward social activity. I was really shy.
When classmates asked what I was doing, responding “Running in circles” and avoiding them felt inappropriate.
Coming up with something on the fly, I said I was pretending to be a racehorse, running the circular track. A few joined in the “no talking, only running game”, but soon became bored. The only man left running, was my friend Gerrod. The strong silent type.
As an adolescent I joined Mom running on Northern pine forested trails in the dappled light of summer. In my teens, my friend and I clad in heavy grey sweatpants would meet for runs in cool early mornings before school.
Adulthood commitments all but depleted my running routine. In my 30s, I was inspired to sign up for a 5k charity run dedicated to the treatment of a friends recent diagnosis.
Still, I never considered myself a runner. I had no desire to run long distance and race events .. until…a woman cursed me with the viciousness of a cornered wolverine.
Arriving early Thanksgiving morning to volunteer at the Victoria Marathon in the mid 90s, I discovered my allotted post, near 20 miles into the 26.2 mile hilly seaside route would be solely manned.. by me. The other volunteers didn’t show up. My director explained how important it was to safely direct traffic, and encourage runners. Be the smile everyone would want to see at this point in the race.
I took my job seriously, with no other spectators in sight, I felt it extra important to support athletes in this remote location. I lost my voice cheering runners with encouragements, standing alone for hours on that rise above the ocean. It was my first experience seeing a marathon, I marvelled at the runners diversity, courage, and athleticism.
Later in the afternoon as a group of runners came into view, I clapped and said how inspired I was by them, by this incredible accomplishment. One approached, her face twisted in anger, spewed profanities at me. Horrified , I frantically wondered how I had unknowingly offended her. Another runner offered a look of apology, thanking me for giving up my holiday weekend to volunteer.
My friends who ran the race, assured me later I hadn’t said anything wrong, explaining while running a marathon, people may feel and act unlike themselves, especially around 20 miles. They called it “The Wall”. * ( Fleet Feet describes the Wall as “that sudden wave of extreme fatigue around that plagues your body. ..”” hittingthe “wall” is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy caused by the depletion of glycogen storage in the liver and muscles”)
I was intrigued, making a silent commitment to participate in that event, in an effort to understand the experience.
Returning after completing my first marathon in Vancouver, I arrived with an extra sense of gratitude and enthusiasm. The Victoria marathon course is one of the most beautiful in the country, offering ocean and wooded views, and live classical music in lush colourful gardens.
When I arrived at the spot along that rise above the ocean around 20 miles, I stopped to shake the hands of the volunteers and thank them. I was greeted with beautiful smiles, just the ones I wanted to see at that point in the race.
I have now run 10 marathons, gleaning abundant life experience from training and participating. I met Marc in a running club training for my third race. Marathon running gave me the courage to participate in Ironman. I have met a vast spectrum of incredible people, including clients and formed best friendships. I have heard remarkable stories, and all the different reasons they run, like in memory of a loved one, a personal dream, supporting others, a challenge, improve health, achieve a goal left unfinished by another. I may not know the person’s story from that day, but it helps knowing the abundant reasons people arrive to a start line, and how challenging it can be to follow thru.
My passion for distance running was born not of a desire to race, achieve, or push boundaries, but to relate, to understand.
In challenging times, when stressed and fatigued, its easy to get lost in our own struggles, project anger to those in our midst, or make incorrect assumptions. We may forget they may be going thru much more than we know.
Though we can attempt to walk or run in another’s shoes, everyone is experiencing their own complicated, private journey. Kindness and insight can ease the situation, perhaps even lead to unexpected discoveries on your own path.
ALL work above are brand new paintings fresh on the easel, with the exception of 1990’s acrylic 16×20 of the Pacific. Please email me to purchase, 2019 pricing applies. Thank you!!