... Everything listed below
... living in the moment and focusing on one step at a time. I remember crossing Thorung la pass in Nepal (~17,800ft) and telling myself to focus on one step at a time. That was easily the most challenging hiking day of my life.
... pushing yourself harder each day. You add a hundred metres everyday and voila!, in ten days, you have added a km to your routine. I used to struggle to complete 3 km a few months ago, and now I do 8+kms (~5+ miles) everyday these days.
... to keep pushing forward, one leap at a time and to not stop when your body tells you to. I remember the struggle I had on Capitol Peak in Colorado - I was lagging behind all the time because I was not prepared to keep pushing forward. My body was not used to it at that time. Ten years and a few gray hairs later, things are a little different.
... to get lost in the music in your ears. As Yanni builds up his tempo, so does my run
... to observe the world around you as it passes by. Sometimes, it feels like each run is a time lapse of your entire life and you are just a witness looking at all the fun and laughing at the awesome ride you had
... to share the stories of people whom you come across. Each person you come cross has a story, a success, a tragedy and a rich life - you just keep wondering what those events could be.
... forgetting yourself, even if for a few brief seconds along the way. Along the run, there are always moments when you are completely lost in a thought or in a thoughtless moment - these are the ones I always look forward to. Paradoxically, these moments during the run let you detach completely from the act of running and that, to me, is fulfilling.
... to let your body switch on autopilot and to detach from it. Your body is a great machine. You oil it well and it keeps running without giving you trouble. Most of the days you run, each step you take is a subconscious activity and your body just takes care of it so that you could focus on better things. On one of those autopilot days in Mumbai, I was bitten by a stray dog and had to take rabies shots! At least that is not a consideration here in NJ/NY...
... feeling your sweat burn your eyes. Oftentimes, the autopilot makes you forget that there are maintenance activities that need to be completed and the body reminds you to wipe your sweat by burning your eyes a bit.
... to wake up before sunrise and to feel child-like happiness when you see the sun rise half way along the run. I have been fortunate to find a peaceful, not so busy running path near my apartment and each time the sun rises, it brings along the sense of a new beginning. I have a few pictures below.
... to feel the rain, your sweat, body heat and the cold breeze at the same time. On days when you are caught off guard, you get to feel all these items at once.
... realizing the power of "now". Getting lost in the moment is not that easy and is often underrated. I consciously run the same path(s) every day to ensure that I get lost in my thought.
... to disconnect from yourself to find your true self. Yeah, this one is cheesy. But, the act of disconnecting from everything else is indeed finding yourself.
Keep running. Be driven. Do whatever that makes you feel the above...
All pictures are views of Manhattan from Jersey City, taken during early morning runs.