My ex husband introduced me to running back in 1984.
Being in Italy, I put on my best outfit and set off with an astonished Canadian professional-league Hockey Player (Aka my ex), Armani model, and later actor, to run around the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Although looking great, I soon realised that having started smoking at fourteen, I could just about make it to the first lamp post.
Needless to say, the ex was laughing his head off, both because of my outfit and my lack of performance; or maybe due to the combination of the two factors.
The most valuable thing he taught me was that Italians have no idea about casual dressing, in fact they get it totally wrong.
This has proved right many years down the road.
Abercombie &Fitch in Corso Matteotti, Milan, a shop my son and my ex wouldn’t set foot in unless somebody was threatening to shoot them, is probably the tackiest place one can find in Milan.
At the front entrance, naked–from the waist up–male models (I’d rather have the opposite), and girls in skimpy dresses.
Back to the main subject.
Since 1984, I have been running – on-and-off – for the best part of my life.
Eventually I came to realize that I was spending so much time either running around Hampstead Heath in London, U.K., or on the treadmill at the gym, that I might as well make money out of it and became a successful personal trainer.
I quit the job when caring about the cellulite on someone else’s thighs–together with having to remember the date their children had their violin concert exam–somehow crashed with the life changes I was going through in my personal life.
Yet, as my ex-husband–and nowadays best friend–always told me, if I had been born in the U.S. I would have become a professional athlete; so I kept up what, by then, had become a passion, albeit a selfish one (yes, another one), of mine: exercising.
At present, I’m running at the “Montagnetta” in Milan, Italy, an under-estimated haven in this city of cement.
I get great pleasure from looking at the the outfits of some of the fellow runners I meet on the way but, mostly, I am astonished at the gadgets and, most of all, at the expression on their faces: they simply don’t get it!
Running is a form of art. A form of meditation where, finally, we can open our minds and stop creating thoughts in our heads; when thoughts can come and go freely, or not come at all.
All that is required is to listen to one’s body and being in tune with one’s energy level which vary from day to day.
There are times when you will run fast, others when you will run so slow that you might as well be walking but that is not the point. The point is to lose oneself in the act of running, to effortlessly observe the surroundings, to feel at One with Nature and with one’s higher self.
The expression on your face should be one of Serendipity, your shoulders should be low and totally relaxed, your neck should be feeling no strain and your steps should be those of a panther strolling easily through the Savannah, ready to sprint when so inspired.
Lastly, the aim of the whole enterprise of running should have nothing to do with weight-loss or toning up–which are just to be thought of as welcome outcomes–and all to do with being in the moment, thought-less and worry-free and–most of all–TIMELESS!
Timeless, or the ability to live in a time-less zone is what exercising is all about, no matter the sport one chooses.
Hence, throw away those use-less gadgets that tell you how many calories you’re burning; how fast you’re running; whether your heart rate is above or below the ever-sought-after 70% Heart Rate and just enjoy yourself for once.
FYI, Heart Rate training zones are calculated by taking into consideration your Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) and your Resting Heat Rate (HRrest).
60% to 70% Energy Efficient or Recovery Zone; 70% to 80% Aerobic Zone; 80% to 90% Anaerobic Zone
Forget all that.
Just set out to enjoy yourself and experience the Real Dimension of Time that is constantly being stolen from us in our every-day, time-obsessed lives.
That’s what is all about…
You can do it!