People who don't run may see it as 'only running' and miss the whole picture. The running is just a small part. Outside of the obvious keeping me young and healthy. It keeps me sane. Saturday mornings are the only time of the week when I can be myself and not be judged, yelled at, nitpicked at, or not worry about missing a deadline. I look forward to that 2 or 3 hours where I don’t have to worry about my agenda being replaced by me becoming someone else's agenda. My days usually consist of attempting to make it through the day without someone pointing out every time I make a mistake. When you are on a group run with your running buddies, no one cares. Conversations are often about our faults, mistakes, and differences.
And oh boy I love it when I am in the zone. What is the zone? Any runner can tell you that when you are into your run, at some point it becomes relaxing, the brain 'shuts off' and at times you can even forget that you are even running. I remember the first time this happened when I was a newbie runner. It was like Neo in the Matrix, in the fight scene when he finally 'figured it out' and was fighting without even trying. Or like when you finally figure out physics or calculus and everything 'clicks'. This is my therapy and where I find my peace. It allows me to reflect on what happened that week and plan for the next. I'm already a mentally strong person, but it has made me even more stronger.
When I first caught the running bug, I trained on my own. Eventually, a good friend introduced me to the Dallas Running Club. Through them I was introduced to the running community. This is an incredibly supportive community which is difficult to compare anything else to. I look forward to connecting with my “support group” every day on social media, and meeting them at races across the city, state, and country. This caring group of friends has been there to share in my triumphs and to hold my head up when I’ve hit some dark, challenging times. Before then I had no other social life outside of my family. It was the first time in my 40+ years that I had ever felt like I had belonged to something. This has definitely been the best decade of my life, hands down.
I am grateful that I have something in my life to keep me physically active. The human body was made to be active as we once had to hunt for food, harvest food and manually do chores to survive. Now with everything automated to do everything for us, activity has to be manufactured, thus we go to the gym, ride bicycles, dance, golf, run and other things. But it is a choice, not something that we 'have' to do to keep it moving. It’s ingrained in me now. For those who are inactive, I would love to for them to feel what my body feels right now. I feel the same now as I did when I was in my twenties. I remember feeling the pre-aches and pains when I was in my late 30s and was headed toward obesity and knowing that there was a need to turn that around. There is no substitute for being physically fit and healthy.
I'm at a crossroads now, where I'm not certain what my athletic goals are. I think I may be done with full Marathons and 50Ks for a while as life's balances has cut away the time I would need to train for one. A lot of my original running friends have moved on to running ultras, cycling or doing triathlons. I've recently started cycling, to elevate my running. I can still train for half marathons, so maybe my goal will be to work on my speed and to get into the best shape that I can be. And keep coaching others of course.
So please excuse me while I go do these hill sprints.
- TNT -
- TNT -