Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is Why I Run

My marathon training consists of 3 relatively short runs during the week and a long run on the weekend, with rest days and cross training in between. In the Winter, getting myself up early in the morning to put on layers of running gear before the sun comes up is a feat within itself sometimes. I don't like making myself get up early, and I don't like getting out there in the cold weather. So why am I doing this?

There is the desire of staying fit and healthy, but that can be accomplished without putting myself through this morning ritual of enduring the cold. There is something more. I've set my goal, the marathon, and each training run becomes a short-term goal leading me closer to the big 26.2 mile day. I log the successes and failures, the good runs and the bad runs. Some days I'm on top of the world, and other days the world knocks me flat. Through it all though, I run. So maybe I am goal oriented, and perhaps attaining my goal gives me the incentive I need to get out there on those tough training days. However I think there is something I get out of each run (even the "bad" ones) that keeps me going.

On every run I'll focus on my pace, then maybe I'll focus on my breathing, my heart rate, my form, etc. Then for a time my mind will wander. I'll look through the soft blue predawn haze across a snow-covered field and see the first few hints of a sun-rise beginning. The only sounds are my own feet hitting the pavement in a steady beat and my rhythmic breathing keeping time.

I don't have a training partner. I've been told that running can get pretty lonely out there on your own, and it does, but that solitude is inviting somehow. The only company I have is the chilling wind that occasionally threatens to weave its way through my knit cap and give my ears a taste of Winter cold. Sometimes it seems to whisper, "This is your journey. This is the part that counts. This is where it all happens."

A bead of sweat will sneak out from under my cap and make it's way down my cheek, transferring some of my body's heat back to wind. "Yes," I'll reply, "This is my journey, and I'm living it."

Eventually I'll come to the end of my run and begin my cool-down. Walking back to the house, I'll check my time. "Hm. Pretty good run." I'll think, "Yeah! That was awesome!"

Then my day begins. This is why I run.

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