Sweet Solitude

Matt went back to work about a week ago and since then he’s only had one day off.  Luckily for me, he usually goes in super early and gets home by 2:30.  But those who know me are fully aware that I am not a late-sleeper, so his schedule leaves me with ample time and not a whole lot to do.

Mostly I have been looking for jobs, baking goodies, watching a little TV, and reading up on the various athletic clubs and facilities in the surrounding area.  Winter in Aus for me has meant day after day of wonderful 60-65 degree weather.  I can only imagine how unbearably hot it will be in summer.  So I have been obsessively seeking indoor fitness classes and outdoor lap pools and comparing their prices of admission.

Though I’ve had 7-8 hours sans Matt most days of late, I haven’t exactly been 100% alone.  Usually his brother, Kieran, is around (though he sleeps pretty late) and his mom is almost always home.  I still get plenty of moments to myself of course, but the only time I get to be completely on my own is when I workout.

On Saturday I was so excited to get out for a run that it wasn’t until about 10 minutes in that I realized I’d left the house without music.  My ipod and its armband are ALWAYS with me when I run.  My instincts told me to go back for it, even though I’d already made it to the park.  But nagging curiosity urged me to press on, to see how long I could last without the bad dance and hip-hop hits motivating me and keeping the beat.

I quickly let my mind go blank.  My hot, even breaths seemed to take on a rhythm of their own, though with slight syncopation.  Usually when I run, I breathe or at least mouth the words along with the songs I hear.  My theory is that it forces me to exhale regularly, like counting reps when doing ab exercises.

Along with the breathing, I focused on the sound of my feet hitting the pavement.  It encouraged me on, calling attention to the pace and flow.  Since it was a Saturday, there were people everywhere.  Children playing, footy teams practicing, dogs trotting ahead of their owners…I reveled in my being so alone among so many.

Usually when I run, I am using the activity as a way to de-stress.  I let it strip me of all that nags.  But this experience was even more thorough.  All thought seemed extinguished; my mind was a complete blank.  It was wonderful!

Yesterday I went to Beatty Park to use the 50M lap pool.  It’s outdoors and quite a grand facility.  Stadium seating surrounds 3/4 of the pool.  I felt like I was swimming in a professional arena.  I’m guessing the city initially built it for some major sporting event.  My arms and legs burned almost the entire hour I spent in the water.  The immunity they’d built up during my weekly swims in France was long gone.  I bought a pass for 10 visits, so I know I’ll get it back.

Since Saturday, I haven’t chanced another music-less workout in the park.  I went on Monday and made sure my ipod was fully charged.  I mouthed the words to the songs and let myself dance when no one was looking.  (I get overwhelming urges to jump, twirl and throw my arms in the air when I run. Go ahead, picture it. I’m not embarrassed!) But one of these days, maybe another warm Saturday, I’ll try it again without the tunes.  It’s the only time I can remember my mind being so blank.


Author: emma a.

I'm Emma, a Minnesota girl getting back in touch with my creative side. Since graduating university in 2008 (the first time), I've been traveling and living abroad. Seven years ago I settled in Australia with my husband. I love running, reading, writing, knitting and pilates. I'm also a physiotherapy student and soon-to-be mother of a baby boy.

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