Monthly Archives: January 2012
There was a time when I said to myself that I hated running and I never wanted to run again. That time was three years ago after I finished the LA Marathon. At that point, I had been running since 2004 and gradually progressing in distance from 5Ks and one 10K that fall, to half marathons by 2007 and 2008. I’d wrestled with doing a marathon because of what I’d read about what it does to your body, especially at a younger age, but I got over that *cough* “Chicken!” *cough* and signed up for LA 2009. To my great chagrin, it just so happened that the current Stadium to the Sea course (AWESOME) would debut in 2010!
‘So much for EVER running that course,’ I remember thinking to myself, because after that race, I NEVER wanted to run another marathon again! My main goal had been to not walk the entire race—a feat that I did accomplish—although I probably could’ve moved faster during the last few miles if I had been walking. I also had high hopes of breaking four hours, a goal I missed by 15 minutes. At the end of the race, I explicitly remember crossing the finish line and actually wanting, no, NEEDING, to put my arm around one of the volunteers standing there because I wasn’t able to support my own weight. I’d never had to do that in a race before and I used to wonder with amusement as to why people had to do that. I DID NOT wonder at that need anymore, nor do I chuckle like a naïve idiot! I think I actually described the pain I was feeling in my legs as, “It feels like someone is stabbing a lot of very sharp icicles all over my legs!” The pain was worse the next morning. I am thankful to this day that I’d been sleeping on an air mattress because that morning, I literally had to roll onto the floor and drag myself into the bathroom where I crawled onto the toilet. That day will quite possibly be remembered as my most well-used sick day of all time. Frankly, I could barely walk.
At this point, I had not fully embraced my love for pain and suffering. But apparently I thought I had, because I was already signed up to run the Chicago 13.1 half marathon less than two weeks later. I was going to visit a friend, Sarah W., who actually may have been one of my inspirations for running the marathon in the first place. I’d met her earlier that year and she’d recently discovered her love for running and obvious aptitude for it—she ran her first three marathons in 2008 and then clocked a 3:37 at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in January 2009.
The half marathon turned out to be a lot of fun and I ran a 1:47 rather easily, especially considering the jam-packed day before of touring Chicago via foot, bike and car, watching the U.S. VS. Honduras World Cup qualifier at Soldier Field, eating a lot and only sleeping 2-hours after a beer and deep-dish pizza the night before! In hindsight, I think the main reason was that I’d absorbed a lot of fitness from the marathon.
So, all that to say there actually was a time when I hated running and really didn’t ever want to run for a significant distance again. But then there was the realization that signing up for a marathon 7-weeks ahead of time was not the brightest idea I’d ever had. I was severely undertrained with no coach and not too much direction! It ONLY took me about a year-and-a-half to realize that was the reason I hated it… ENTER the bike.
Running is apart of what defines me as an individual. It is the purest form of physical activity there is, unadulterated by anything foreign to my body. It is just me and the earth and the whole world is my boundary.
I feel most alive when I am running in the outdoors. It allows me to focus on everything and nothing at the same time. At times, there are a million thoughts traveling through my mind; at others, nothing occupies my consciousness but the smell of the air and the feeling of the wind on my face. Still, sometimes I am solely focused on the movement of my body – the pounding of my shoes on the ground, heel strike to toe push; the motion of my legs; the rhythmic swing of my arms as they cut through the air.
The weather does not affect my running schedule. The time of day does not play a role in whether I run. My current geographic location is not a factor. My body and my schedule are the only factors that decide whether I will run and how far. Running is flexible, adaptable, and limitless.
Running is art. Running is my medium for self-expression. It allows me to vary speed, length, intensity, incline, terrain, area and so much more. It is the physical representation of my individuality. It is my movement’s fingerprint. It is unique to me. No one else runs exactly the way that I do.
Running defines me.
Run. Find yourself.