All I gotta do is – act naturally.

Well, I have some very exciting news… and some dreary news, but you’ll have to scroll down for that.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been having a lively dialogue with my good friend Matt Zurcher – maverick conductor & composer, casual trader in gems & precious stones, a (former?) runner himself, and a passionate cinéphile and filmmaker. In other words, not so much a man after my own heart as one who has always had it, since we first met in the apprentice program at the Berkshire Choral Festival. The topic of our discourse? Making a movie about my run from Montreal to Vancouver.

To be honest, the idea occurred to me not as an end in itself, but as a fun and mutually beneficial way to have someone accompanying/supporting me during the most dangerous/isolated portions of my itinerary: namely, Sault Ste-Marie to Thunder Bay, and the crossing of the Rockies. My biggest concern in planning the logistics of the run has been how to ensure that I don’t succumb to hunger/thirst/exposure/bears during these segments, so the advantages to me of having one or two people following me in a car are obvious. But, I had not wanted to ask anyone to do that for me, until I realized there might be a situation in which it could be of mutual benefit. Preserving my solitude on this trip is important to me as well, because the whole concept of the trip is based on having time for dynamic meditation, emptying my mind, avoiding stimuli. Matt is a friend whose presence for a few weeks of the trip would not disrupt this kind of mode. On the contrary, I earnestly hope that his making a film record of it, and the conversations we’ll have (both on and off camera), will serve the dual purpose of making an interesting piece of art and also articulating my philosophy and getting to the bottom of why I’m doing this / what I’m getting out of it.

Matt and I have always talked a lot about film. I mentioned to him just recently that I’ve been really interested in Herzog’s documentary style, and he said that he has also been: “under the influence of the Herzog technique which is essentially creating a clear story out of the subject but focusing on the mind over all else.” I thought that was an interesting way to summarize it. Certainly, I can imagine Matt making a movie out of this that might be in the same vein as Grizzly Man, or maybe this movie, which I think is probably a must-see for both of us. We’re talking about a low-maintenance, digital production, with a crew of Matt and possibly one other. Both of us are really excited about the possibilities that all this opens up.

And now for the slightly dreary, but still hopeful, news:

I’ve been physically unwell for the past few days. Last Friday, I hurt my right ankle while turning not quite widely enough on a routine icy slope situation. It was difficult to decide whether I should keep running on it (as I did on Friday and Saturday… it felt really bad and I was slow) so I can learn how to overcome that sort of situation, or if I should truly rest it so my training is as high-quality as possible. I opted for the latter, and so all week I’ve been hardly running at all, but keeping up with my strength training and guzzling sour cherry nectar (a natural anti-inflammatory). I want to be clear: if a repetitive strain injury occurs while I’m on the road this summer, I will not be stopping for it unless I’m literally incapacitated. However, I want to be in top condition on May 1st, and this seemed like the best choice. I felt listless, but it was all right. I got a massage and some time in the sauna (thanks groupon), put a little more effort into my nutrition, etc.

The ankle is better now. It would all be fine if I felt ready to kick off a serious week of training tomorrow, but unfortunately, I woke up on Saturday feeling sick, and now I’ve got a cold / sore throat / mild chills. This is garbage! Wish it happened last week! But I will probably run with my cold, in the cold, as I did in November, or whatever that was when I last got sick. Exercising in the cold is scientifically shown to be good for the immune system, and despite initial discomfort I’ve always found running while ill totally fine. Maybe you sweat it out faster, right?

Sweat out your memories of the past, your dreams for the future, your cravings and aversions, your illness. Sweat yourself clean. Wake up after your sweat and look at the life around you with new eyes. Where are you and why?

Maybe this is why Tolstoy was so good at “making strange,” why he was always able to de-familiarize the quotidian. It was all that mowing.


~ by edmundmilly on February 12, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: