“There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open. Just do it.“
An ’80s Nike ad.
The quote encapsulates the sport of running very well. It pares down all the complications required for an activity down to just the bare necessities that I feel running should be about. Getting out there alone or with just a small group of friends. Distance and speed at which the run happens are immaterial. What’s important goes on inside your mind. It can be of thoughts of someone, something, a conversation that happened sometime ago or some place. Or it can be totally blank, spaced out if you will. It just doesn’t matter.
Chasing something can be very tiring. An all-consuming raison d’État that can possibly end in exhaustion and self doubt. Haza wrote eloquently in her post about elevating your reason for running to something other than losing yourself in PRs and proving oneself. Don’t get me wrong; pursuing PRs and personal goals are great ways of keeping the motivation up. They’re also license for us to expound the “truths” about running and keep the evangelism going and to keep spreading the word. The last thing we need is a hypocrite who is not walking the talk.
My running life has been littered with time offs. When entering the rat race, changing jobs, getting married, welcoming 2 boys into the family and the ultimate 4-letter word W.O.R.K. In between those realities of Life I’ve always rebounded and had unforgettable years of running and racing.
True, hardcore runners have never let those “events” disrupt their running. Streakers don’t even let injuries and natural disasters get in their way of running. But I’m not a hardcore nor a streaker. However I’ve been lucky about keeping injury-free (and hopefully remain that way as I age). While I lose months and years of running to the other aspects of life, I do hope to gain longevity in the sport whatever distance I run.
I’ve running plans for 2010 right up to early 2011. The goals are not easy and achieving them is no longer so much due to a need to prove that I can do it. At least for me, it’s now about the experience. If experiencing something brings about a PR, so be it and I’ll gladly take it and be ecstatic for it. Could the key to running happiness be down to experience? I’ll be finding that out.
I’ll readily admit that it’s the motivation part that I need to rekindle. Motivation is the one singular challenge that accompanies a long layoff. I need to rediscover the words, writings and wisdom of Dr George Sheehan. I need to reread Jim Denison’s excellent The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story. I need to absorb Neal Jamison and Don Allison’s Running Through The Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon that’s been gathering dust in my cabinet. I’ve sought inspiration through books, DVDs and music and they’re what I’ll return to as I embark on my umpteeth renaissance.
For once, I’ve time.
Published March 7, 2010.