Monday, August 11, 2008

For the Love of Running

The other day, someone asked me how I manage through the miles during the long runs, "what do you think about, isn't it boring?"

Well, the runs do have their moments of boredom, and sometimes it seems that I'm never going to finish. But for the most part, the time/miles really do fly by.

For a good portion of the long runs, I am concentrating on the road in front of me, making sure I don't step on some random rock or in some random hole and end my running career. I watch the cars coming toward me, hoping like hell they actually see me. I check out the scenery, noticing things I've never noticed even though I've driven down that road a zillion times. I notice all the stuff that ends up in the ditch that has been thrown out windows, either on purpose or accidently. I sing to whatever is playing on my Ipod.

I can think of nothing or everything, sometimes wondering how the heck I'll manage 26.2 and then remembering how far I've come.

Take this past Sunday for example. It was a cut-back week of only 10 miles. See, right there, ONLY ten miles. I wouldn't have said that 2 years ago. And it was a great 10 miles - the weather was perfect and I felt strong the entire time. I took a break at mile 6.18 at the gas station - bought some Gatorade and had a Gu. During the run, I stopped a few times, but again, turned off the Garmin when I did. Here's the "how far I've come part".....I ran the entire 10 miles, and it felt really, really good. 10 miles in 1 hr, 49 minutes (11 min per mile pace, also way better than last year). That, my friends, is 3 minutes better than my last 10 miler.

This coming weekend's long run is 15 miles. If I stay on my 11 min per mile long run pace, I should finish in 2 hrs, 45 min, which means I'll have alot of time to watch for rocks, holes and cars. And I'll have alot of time to think.

This brings me to a passage I stole from Kristina, off her blog, but it really does hit home:

It's from Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running:

Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life--and for me, for writing as well.

Maybe not so much the writing part for me, although I do love blogging. Does running & exerting myself help me live with clear goals and be fully alive? I think it does. If nothing else, it gives me a period of time to either clear my head, sort it all out or completely forget about it. As much as I may sometimes complain about the long runs, I really like them. It's my time. I feel better & stronger afterwards and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Here's something to keep in mind...whatever you do to be fully alive, just remember to know what you want, who you are and never worry about what anyone else thinks.

Run on, friends....