This year I turn 42. It is fun for me to look back on the races I ran this year. It is hard to remember them all. Even though my running year had its ups and downs, it is still fun to look back and connect each race to the people I was with along the way. I do not necessarily want to put it behind and hurry into 2014. I’m excited about what the new year holds, but I also enjoy thinking about the stories of 2013. It is also at the end of the year when I start to think of what I did spend a lot of time on. Running is a big part of my life. I learn something new about myself during each training cycle.
I am learning not to be a running co-dependent! I do not want my running to be dependent on what I did or did not do the night before my run or what I did or did not eat. This time of the year, for me, is a large concentration of family and food. I love running but I find that it becomes stress management, during the holidays. I can get carried away with extra mileage counteracting the extra calories that I consume to counter the family stuff. This summer the miles did not seem as monotonous as they do now, sometimes. I develop an “unhealthy confidence” in running. I am working on the balance. I am working on me. This is a great quote from an article titled, “Is Running Selfish?” by Geoff Roes.
Think of all the times in your life that you have encountered someone who seems excessively joyous, balanced, content, and excited about life. Have these interactions not made you a better person in some, small way? Not to say that runners are automatically more joyous, balanced, content, and excited about life than they would be if they didn’t run, but I have run enough in my life to know that, when I’m really tuned in to my running, that I am more joyous and feel more alive than when I’m not. Not to say that running is the only path to feeling so much joy and passion about life, but it is a path that works really well for a lot of people. In going out most every day and seeking this balance, joy, passion, and excitement for life through our practice of running, we are most definitely doing good for more than just ourselves. We are spreading an energy and a mindset to everyone we come in contact with that makes each of them just a little bit stronger and a little bit more alive than they were before that interaction.
I am on week 7 of a 24 week training cycle for a 50 mile race in March. Lately, I have had some great long runs, faster than usual with not too much more effort than usual. I’ll take it!! I’ll love it!! I’ll want more of that feeling!! BUT, I have to look at the big picture. I have 17 weeks to go. I have to slow down these long runs, 50 miles is a long way. I have no idea what to expect and I LOVE that feeling. It is adventure to me. 🙂 Man! I have a smile on my face now, the adrenaline is rushing. This training cycle is different than the last 3. I am training for mileage rather than time. So, I will be logging more miles that I have in the past. I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to building some relationships that I have started and to enrich the ones that I hold on to now. 🙂
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, pastor Eric Van Zee preached a sermon at church and mentioned his daughter. He was on the phone and his daughter wanted his attention. When he did not respond as she demanded, she put one hand on each side of his face and turned it to meet her gaze. Imagine the tenderness of this image. Imagine how well his daughter knew him. She felt safe enough to reach out and touch his ‘dad’ face with her little hands. Okay. . . now imagine my hands on either side of your face. I want you to listen. Your running does not have to be running away from things. Your running can be pure joy, pure contentment, pure excitement.