Several weeks ago, I wrote that I've signed up for another half marathon. Even more than paying the race registration fee, announcing my decision on the blog has clinched the reality that I'm willingly training to run thirteen miles. In December. In central Pennsylvania.
Slap me, would you?
This afternoon I ran ten miles at a respectable pace, not only marking the first training run when the mileage has crossed into double-digits, but also providing me with a confidence boost. (As warped as this claim used to sound before I began distance running, it's true: if you can run ten miles, then you can run thirteen.)
That being said, if you love running, this post is for you. If you hate running, this post is for you. Much like an adolescent romance, my own relationship with running is somewhat complex, marked by on-again, off-again inconsistency and periodic swells of great affection.
That being said, in no particular order, here are my thoughts on running:
1) There are graceful, attractive runners. I'm not one of them. I'm steady and consistent and determined, but there's no glamor involved. I'm definitely not like this guy in the maroon shirt, who defies reality of what people should look like when they run a marathon.
Incidentally, do you think maroon shirt guy and this running back are related?
Seriously, photogenic guys, you put the rest of us to shame. This more accurately describes me:
2) I appreciate that running isn't graceful or attractive. The other afternoon, for example, I was caught in an unexpected rain storm during a mid-afternoon run. Do you know how freeing it was to run outside in the rain, unencumbered? No umbrella. No concerns about my frizzing hair. No expectations to be presentable or pulled together or polished. I need more of this.
3) Boredom is the chief reason I want to quit running. During long runs, I often interview myself.
"Are you dying?" No.
"Are you in danger of passing out anytime soon?" No.
"Are you still capable of drawing breath? Yes.
"Then what's your problem?" Well...
And that's when I realize that I get bored with the whole one-foot-in-front-of-the-other routine, which, admittedly, is inanely repetitive. It also leads me to number four. (And number five.)
4) Running brings out the best in me. There's much to be said for overcoming discomfort and boredom in order to reach a goal. My legs might be sore after a run, but the pleasure of accomplishment wins. When I run, I think and pray and worship. I thank God for a heart that beats, for legs that move, for a body that's capable of being pushed. I notice the beauty of my surroundings -- even the recent extreme chill that's settled over our state, knowing that I wouldn't be seeing or experiencing them unless I was outside running.
5) Running brings out the worst in me. Long runs -- especially the runs during which I'm struggling -- trigger OCD-related tics. I begin counting items: mailboxes, trees, street signs, seconds as they tick by, my steps, my breathing, my intelligence.
6) When I see another runner who is moving at a faster pace than I am, I automatically assume that I'm going a farther distance.
7) When I'm moving at a faster pace than another runner, I automatically assume that I'm awesome.
Images compliments of littlerunningteacher.com, deadspin.com, and weknowawesome.com.
Thank you for your consistent votes, dear readers! I appreciate your daily support!