Last September, I began running. I began very slowly at first, and I never did push myself for fast gains. I allowed myself to get faster naturally, and to run longer distances as I felt able to. If I was up for a long run, I’d run farther. If, during a run, I felt more tired or worn out than usual, I’d cut it short. I also only ran every other day, and took two-days off on the weekends. The result: I run sub-9 minute miles consistently for over 3.1 miles/5km every time I set out.
Something I learned on some of my earliest runs is that, even though I am listening to music while I run, my mind wanders, and I’m able to think about things and those things eventually get worked out and it clears my mind. Coupled with the physical activity and being unable to do anything else other than think while running, it’s allowed me to have some really amazing post-run meditations on my front porch.
I smoke a pipe. Many find this to be surprising for someone who is into health and fitness as I am, but I am a firm believer that the meditative qualities of smoking a pipe in the evenings has been instrumental to my success in my diet, improved health, and fitness plans. I know that tobacco is known to cause cancer. I know it’s not the healthiest thing I could be doing. But I also know that my risk is much lower than that of someone who smokes a cigarette or who smokes a pipe or cigar all day long. Heck, there’s even a study that came out of England recently which found the same as a Surgeon General’s report that pipe smokers had a lower risk of death from cancer than non-smokers.
The following is a quote from the US Surgeon General report “Smoking and Health” (No. 1103, page 92) “Among the pipe smokers…The U.S. mortality ratios are 0.8 for non-inhalers and 1.0 for inhalers;”. So what does that mean, their study was using a mortality ratio of 1.0 as the mortality ratio for a non-smoker, and what they found is that pipe smokers that don’t inhale have a slightly lower mortality ratio which means that they live slightly longer. That needs repeating…Pipe smokers that don’t inhale live longer that non-smokers according to that study.
Weird, right? I thought so, too. But, I accept the risks for any actions I undertake including eating red meat daily, eating coconut oil, and not eating grains: all things my doctors have told me may be bad for me.
One thing I am certain of, however: meditation is good for the mind, body, and soul, and I enjoy being able to do so while running and also when not running, sitting on my porch with my pipe in hand and my dog at my side.