Today at work, I wrote up a race report, which—in a moment of frenetic multitasking— I somehow deleted. But you know what? That’s really for the better. The report was long and actually quite boring: a description of Saturday’s 10k complete with lots of complaining about the heat and the fierce wind. Blah, blah, blah.
Before leaving the Museum, I printed out a new half-marathon training program, and then I came home and went out for a run. Truth be told, I was scared to run because Saturday was the first time—almost ever— that running hasn’t been fun. Not at all fun. I didn’t smile once that whole race. Throughout the entire event, I was disappointed in my legs, in my I-pod, in my body.
Tonight’s run, I had promised myself, would be slow. After Saturday’s fiasco, I knew the heat meant I had to take it easy. However, right from the start my legs felt fantastic. I didn’t even need to stop for water; I just ran. And ran and ran. It was like the old days! Back in February when I did those first long training runs and felt absolutely on top of the world: fully confident in my legs, extraordinarily grateful for my I-pod, and suddenly, beamingly, proud of my body. I thought about my dad’s 10k this past Saturday, which had been slow and hot as well. He’d been sick the week before, but he struggled through those Dreaded Druid Hills. I thought—as I often do on runs— about having children—yes, no, maybe so—, about work, and about how much I miss my family, about the greatness of Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen, and, by the time I hit the 5-kilometer mark, I realized I was running at the pace I’d been aiming for on Sunday.
Running, I realize, isn't about the race, or the 57-minute 10k, or even about losing ten pounds. It's about that time for thinking, that control and discipline that gives way to epiphanies and to ecstasy.