Monday, August 5, 2013

do it for love

You and I, we’re not the same kind of runner. You see, I love running. I love pretty much all of it. I loved it before I knew it was a magic weight loss pill. I loved it before I saw my renewed energy. I loved it when three miles was a long way.

You and I, causal runner, are not the same kind of runner because my week isn’t complete without 20 miles of running. It matters. It matters so much I will re-prioritize almost anything else for my run.

You and I, over-thinking runner, are not the same type of runner because when the feet hit the road, that’s not analysis time for me.

You and I, fair-weathered runner, are not the same type of runner because I’m going to run whether it’s 0 degrees or 100 degrees,. I am going to hate the extreme conditions of both and I may even get sick in the 100, but it won’t stop me from what I love. I will still love that I ran. I have never regretted a run.

See, I love my stats, and I love to stare at the numbers from my runs, but when I hit the road, all I care about is the road and as far as I can go. I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to analyze my plans whole running. I don’t want to stare at my Garmin and slow or quicken my pace. I just want to run. Yes, I want to get better, but that’s the magic of running—if you do it you get better at it.

Remember a few months ago I wrote about how if you don’t like running you should find another sport? I said:

If you can’t have fun running, then don’t run.
I feel more strongly about that than ever. It’s August and I don’t live in Alaska. I am also, apparently, ultra-sensitive to heat and prone to literal heat exhaustion. And I haven’t missed a run. That’s love. It’s not a training plan—in fact, I am realizing that I can’t train for fall long runs because of the physical limitations of the level of heat--it's been hard but my mileage hasn't suffered. I find a way. It’s not weight loss. Come on, there are so many exercises to help you lose weight. Zumba, for Pete’s sake. Do that 5 days a week and you will probably be skinner faster than running.

See, running is so many wonderful things, but for me, it’s really my best friend—the one thing I can always count on in a world of inconsistency. You don’t need equipment or a coach or a plan or analysis. While I do things like analyze my stats, that’s not the purpose of what I do.

Running is getting more popular by the minute, and I think the attention is great, but a runner runs—when it’s a fad and when it’s not. When it’s hot or when it’s cold. When there’s a race or when it’s just a normal day.

Today I got up before dawn, on the first day of a long, and what will be very hard on me mentally, week—and I ran a 5K. Because I could. Because I can run. Because my feet work and it makes my heart come alive like nothing else. Because I needed to run for myself.  I was more tired today. I am more tired now.

But I will get up again tomorrow and do it again.

I rest on rest days, not because I don’t feel like running. Honestly, I will be surprised if I have rest days very much once it’s cool again. The heat has been very hard on me; it has tested everything I am made of. And I have won.

There are so many runners who have stories like mine, all different details but the same theme. I am like them. I am the runner who found hope in my feet, on the open road. I am the runner who was wanted on the streets, and who found life even in the dead of winter. I am not casual, I am not an analyst, I am not fair-weathered. I am a runner because I run. I am a runner because I love to run. That's the kind of runner I am. And that's the only kind I want to be.

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