Have you ever seen a dolphin run?
Me neither but today I made history by becoming the first runner in the world to have a dolphin for a running partner, even though for only a few seconds. Skip to the shaky dolphin video if you don’t want to read my cringie Lance Armstrong comparison and The Great Conundrum of Truth vs. Lie or my running vs. cycling analysis.
Why I Am Writing About Running On My Cycling Adventure Blog
Well, if you haven’t noticed, it’s not all about the bike for me. If you are or ever were a Lance Armstrong fan you’ve probably heard a similar phrase used before. It’s the opening phrase in the title of Armstrong’s 2000 autobiographical book “It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life” which was written shortly after he won his first Tour de France in 1999. The book was meant to inspire cycling fans, cancer patients and anyone who wants some reassurance that anything is possible so long as we are deeply passionate about putting in the hard work. Unfortunately, the story didn’t tell the whole truth but nevertheless, it accomplished its goal of inspiring thousands of readers around the world, myself included (I haven’t yet read the book but I am familiar with the story). Never let the truth interfere with a good story was perhaps the guiding principle of his book and, as it seems, was also the foundation on which he built the most successful cycling career in history. After winning the 1999 Tour de France, Lance went on to win six further times in successive years, establishing a record (later revoked when the truth finally surfaced).
But this is not a blog post about Lance. And unlike his story this one is true and I am not afraid of allowing the truth to intervene. In fact I welcome it and would gladly hand over my keyboard to it to continue telling this story if that was even possible. Truth inspires us into taking action, into taking courage and to be relentless in our pursuits. In truth, Lance could have achieved success without resorting to cheating but only if everyone else was riding clean. Was it wrong for him to omit that tiny detail about his Tour de France preparation? Perhaps not. But I digress. Bare with me for just a couple more lines and I promise will get back to the subject of this blog post. But first…
The Great Conundrum of Truth vs Lie
When is it ok to lie? We lie to our kids when we promise them that Santa Claus will bring them gifts on Christmas eve. Christians bribe their own children with the promise of an imaginary place called heaven and they are staunch believers in telling the truth.
The What vs. The Why
This is a blog post about my own journey and when I say “it’s not ALL about the bike,” I actually mean it but in a different way. You see, I am more than a cyclist. I am also a runner, a swimmer, a blogger, a webmaster, a SEO specialist and a digital marketing expert but none of these things accurately define who I really am. They define what I do for a living or for fun. I can also say that I am a husband and a father as these roles also require a certain amount of effort, responsibility and dedication but they still don’t tell you who I am as a person. You see, it’s not the what I do that defines who I am but the why I do it. So in the case of the endurance sports, cycling, running and swimming… I do these things because they make me come alive and also because they help me to really get out there and experience life in a way that I never could while sitting on a couch watching TV or in a hammock reading a book (though the latter is a good way to relax after a long bike ride or run).
Why I Run
As the title of the post reveals, my epic morning run took place on a Sunday, a day often reserved in most western cultures as a day of rest or a day for spiritual rejuvenation. Today was that kind of a day for me. A day to set out on a great adventure, a day that sets the tone for the rest of my week, a week in which I will meet challenges head on and overcome them with style and grace.
So running for me is a type of meditation. It is a spiritual exercise and today my spirit was properly quenched and I am now ready to take on the rest of the week like a boss! So allow me to continue telling the story of my Super Sunday morning run and my amazing dolphin encounter which I was lucky enough to be able to record with my iPhone.
Running vs. Cycling
Cycling also offers me a similar opportunity to relax my mind and to put my thoughts in order and in preparation for the day which is why I prefer riding in the mornings. However, there are some days—even weekend days when it would be more ideal to get in a long endurance ride—when I want to just go back to the basics and simply go out and run for as long as I could like Forest Gump .
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy cycling. Maybe I enjoy it more than I enjoy running but running feels so pure where as cycling involves sitting uncomfortably on a machine (albeit one of the greatest machines ever invented) equipped with two wheels to help you travel with less effort than walking or running and with two cranks and gears to help you magnify the force you apply to the pedals with your legs so you can get the wheels turning even faster.
Note: Resting your gouch on a bike saddle should hardly qualify as sitting but for the purpose of this post I will call it that.
The bicycle is simply one of the most beautifully brilliant machines ever invented. As Chris Woodford so eloquently describes it in his science of bicycles article on explainthatstuff.com, “it’s a perfect example of how pure, scientific ideas can be harnessed in a very practical piece of technology.” I am sure that horses in the 19th century were overjoyed when they heard the news of this great human advancement. It should have meant less work for them but unfortunately, horses around the world are still slaving away for their human masters. It just goes to show that no matter how far we have come with science and technology, some of us still prefer to do things the hard and inhumane way.
Yes, cycling is far more efficient as a means of getting from point A to point B and maybe it was the logical technological replacement for horseback riding. However, even horseback riding is still a fairly new activity for which the human body is still clearly not naturally adapted to. It may take another 100 thousand years before we become fully adapted to sitting on a horse or bike or maybe we never will.
Running, on the other hand (or on the other foot) is something our hunter/gatherer ancestors were doing for over a hundred thousand years, long before horses were being indoctrinated into the farming/herding lifestyle that began around ten thousand years ago. So while I enjoy riding because it gets me moving with very little effort and unlike driving a car, it is me doing all the work, I also love running because when I go out for a long run I don’t have to carry a spare tube, a pump and a patch kit. Besides, there is no purer form of motion than running and so it’s good to put down the bike once in a while and just literally follow in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors. While running, you also get to see and experience nature in ways you can’t from the saddle of a bicycle. Also, to tell you the truth, it is the closest thing to flying since running allows you to cover more distance with your feet off the ground than on the ground.
The Dolphin Who Swam Next To The Runner
Well today while running back home after stopping at the Haulover bridge for a short nature break and to capture the opening photo featured at the top of this post I decided to jump on top of and run the full length of the first stretch of retaining wall that was recently put in place to hold back the Belize River during floods and the inevitable rise in water level due to climate change. I wanted to record my first experience running this wall so I took out my iPhone and started recording. What happened about forty seconds into the recording was totally unexpected.
Check out the video of my experience below. It’s a little shaky as I was running with iPhone in hand. About forty seconds after I started recording I spot a dolphin swimming and diving alongside the river wall in the direction I was heading. I don’t know who spotted who first but I think I made history today, becoming the first runner to have a dolphin for a running partner. So cool! What a surprise that was! I don’t know if I could describe this as a magical experience or not but it surely felt special. After all, dolphins are special and this particular dolphin really made my day today.