Though that’s not exactly accurate.
I love finishing a run. And often, for the first two miles or so, I love the act of running. I love the goal of distances and times, even when my times never seem to improve and the distances aren’t getting any easier.
I don’t want it to be easy. I just want to be better at it. I know the people I watch who run and make it look effortless are putting in more effort than I can imagine. Effort outside the act of running–they’re strength training, and cross training, and eating properly.
That goes for all athletes, particularly the ones who excel at what the do. Whether they excel on the local stage, the national stage, or the world stage (all of which have different requirements for excellence).
During the Final Four, NPR did a story on Lebron James and how he was playing in every game because many of his teammates were out on injuries. The reporters made the point that this was a difficult task to take on, playing in every single game for large segments of time. They talked about him barely able to keep his eyes open at times. His recovering days included time on a stationary bike (first thing in the morning) and dips in an ice bath. I imagine his muscles achey and sore. I think about the idea of recovery days still requiring a great deal of physical work.
I love running, and yet I can only get myself out of bed early on race days. Some people jump out of bed and hit the road at 5am in order to get the run in before work, but I’m too busy hitting snooze over and over.
I love running, but it’s not something I turn to as a way to unwind. It is an obligation; a promise to myself to keep moving, even if I’m tired after work. A promise to push myself more because life is short and I want to keep my body in motion.
I love running even though I see little to no change in the scale numbers. I’ve stopped looking at the scale these days. My only measurements are how far I can go and for how long.
I love running even though I will likely never win a race. The people who win races (even local races) are at a caliber beyond my reach, and I’m not meaning that to be a put down about myself. It’s as if there are people whose bodies are designed for running; people who have been running out of pleasure and fun since they were children. And so my goals are adjusted to beat my last time, or to run farther than I did last time. Those are the races I’m in, and they’re good enough for the time being.
Running is always a decision for me. It is not my default mode; it’s a mode I want to be in. Runner is a descriptor I want to claim for myself.
And though it’s mostly difficult, I love running.
(Next challenge: 15K in September)