I ran 9 miles yesterday.
If you had asked me last year if I thought I could run 9 miles I would have laughed in your face then stuffed another Twinkie in mine!
Yep, I am slowly, but surely becoming a RUNNER.
Some people in my life totally get it. They understand why I run. They understand why I put up with the purple toenail and the sore knees. They understand why I am up on Saturday mornings before the crack of dawn (well, it would be before the crack of dawn if I lived someplace a little further from the North Pole!).
Then there are the Others. The people that can't understand why I would do that to myself. Why I would push my body to such limits, or insist on not missing a run, or put up with said purple toenail. The Others can't understand why I am so excited about running a 13.1 mile race. "Just mark 6.5 miles out of town and back and run that instead!" I've heard this about a million times.
I've tried to explain it and haven't been able to get my point across yet.
Then I stumbled upon this article.
I loved it...
I felt compelled to share it.
There's a stretch of road that I run on that is long and straight and seems to go on forever. I used to hate it, but now it's my favorite place. See I don't have to do anything, just run. I don't have to avoid dogs, dodge traffic, or encounter potholes. It's just me and the road. Breathe in, breathe out. Last night while I was on that stretch I began to think how powerfully simple this all is.
We ask our body to run and it does...at first not far...but then over time it becomes this machine. A simple perfect machine. Breathe in, breathe out. One foot and another. An endless repetition of a series of moves that propels you further and further along. And the miracle of the human body is that it responds by carrying you further and further until one day you show up at work and say, "I ran eight miles yesterday" and all the jaws drop. Yes...you did. Something that your co-workers consider positively superhuman. You did it. You may not look like a superhuman, but at that moment you are.
My mind flashes back to a conversation I've had about running. Every run is a test; a test to see what you are made of. Do you have it in you today? Here on the road there is no way to cheat. It's simple, you either run it or you don't. Either you win or the road wins. And no matter how sick you are, no matter how tired you are, the road still asks, do you have it in you? Even if you had a great run yesterday, the road is still out there today and today you have to prove what you are made of. Breathe in, breathe out.
The road doesn't care if you are good looking, smart, young, old. The test is the same. What do you have in you today? Some days you come home glowing with accomplishment. Other days you lose. You feel fat, heavy, out of shape, tired. Well meaning friends say "why do you do that to yourself?" but you know...you aren't doing it TO yourself, you are doing it FOR yourself. You lose the stress of the day. No matter how bad your day is, you sweat out all those problems on a long run. You shut off the voices. You silence the chatter. Just you and the road, alone. Breathe in, breathe out.
I know we all have goals. Five K goals and marathon goals and negative splits. But on your next run let me encourage you to just run and enjoy the simple pleasure of running. No watch, no time limit, you're not going anywhere, you're not getting anywhere. You just are...a simple lone runner...on a long stretch of road. I'll see you out there.
And that... dear people... is why I run.
*I found this article on a running message board. It was written by someone named Falco.