Saturday, September 8, 2007

My Special 18-Miler

An ancient Chinese philosopher once said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. I wasn’t planning on running a thousand miles today, just eighteen; but for some reason, I found it just as equally challenging to take first step today. Maybe it was the potential disaster at work this morning that drained all of my energy, or the fact that I was forced to miss my running mate’s out-of-town wedding this weekend because of work obligations that had me feeling demoralized the whole day, whatever the reason, I was just not feeling up to running long today. Although physically I was feeling well rested, after not running for the past couple days, psychologically, the prospect of running the hilly 6-mile Central Park course three times and spending potentially three hours running on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon didn’t sound particularly appealing to me. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go through the motions of getting ready and started walking towards the park. I was hoping that something along the way would grab my attention and inspire me. But instead, by the time I reached the park, all I got was a message on my Garmin 305 that the battery was low. I knew right then that it was just not going to be an easy run. So, I took one last sip of water from the fountain, tied my bandana taut around the back of my head and started running.

As marathon runners, most of the runs we do are defined by their intended effects on our training. There are short interval runs that are meant to build speed, long distance runs that are meant to teach endurance, tempo runs that train us for distance racing, and short recovery runs that help us recover from a hard workout. Collectively, they comprise the bulk of our training regimen. But once in a long while, if you pay attention, you find yourself engaged in a special run, where the purpose transcends the training. The run starts with you in one state and brings you to a totally different emotional state by the finish. Sometimes you are, but sometimes you are not, even aware of the transformation until after the journey has been completed.

I will spare you the specific details, but that’s what happened to me on my run today. Although my pace was slow and the last miles painful, I finished my run in a much better frame of mind than when I started. I fought through the boredom and the fatigue, and by perservering, received benefits that far outweighed any tangible effects it had on my training. I guess in the end that’s what inspires me to run everyday, even if I don’t feel like it. It’s that special ability, on any given run at any given time, to inspire you, to guide you, to change you from what you thought you were when you began to what you hope you will be when you finish, even if it is not so apparent to you before you take that first step.

1 comment:

beccahsdad said...

Well said... I can't count the times I left the house dreading what I was about to do and feeling so much better when it was over. I think it is the running gods way of rewarding us for doing a job well done.

Great post!

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