Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Like to Run

Why do I run?

Because I can and others choose not to. Morsey Runs called it a Vanity Fartlek, when you pick up your pace as you pass people on the sidewalk. I do that. I say hi to other people walking their dogs, to neighbors I know. I say hi to strangers. I once ran through a parade (probably at a 8 min. pace). When I run on a busy street I make eye contact with all the cars on the road. When I’m in my car and I see a runner, I want to roll my window down and yell, “hey, I’m a runner too.” (No, I don’t.)

Because I never thought of myself as an endurance athlete. I have an inner peace when I look at my mileage for the week or month. Or year. I like the fact that I’m in my second year of running. I can’t wait to say I’m in my 10th year. Or I’ve run 10,000 miles. That will be cool.

Because it’s about the journey, not the destination. I can’t tell you what the goal is, I can just tell you what the road is like. The road is full of races (some fast, some not), places (some exotic, some routine), trail runs, hikes and maybe someday bikes. I’m like the collie that sneaks out of the gate. He runs down the street, until he sees a bush. Stops, sniffs around a bit and then takes off for another destination. Time is not a factor, just being free to run. He gets petted by a stranger, but before the stranger can grab a hold of the collar and look at his dog tag, he’s off again. At the end of the day he’s back home eating out of his bowl. Time didn’t matter, pace wasn’t a factor. I know the destination doesn’t matter, because 5 minutes after I’ve finished my run, I want to run again.

So, is it to lose weight? That’s part of the reason I started. I’ve lost about 1/3 of the weight I would like to lose. I will continue to lose weight, but the joy of running will always be first. Now I realize, as I weigh less, I will run better. That, to me is more a motivation than for vanity reasons.

To Compete? One of the reasons I started running was that I was looking for another sport I could participate in that didn’t require finding 10 friends to field a team. As a runner, you are the team. I run when I want to. I run in races when my schedule allows. I compete against the field and enjoy it as I slowly move from ‘back of the pack’ to the front of ‘back of the pack’ and maybe some day to the middle of the pack. I, enjoy, comparing my times to past races. A PR is wonderful, but not the Holy Grail. I won’t die for one. They’ll come as time marches on.

To Run Marathons? Yeah, that would be fun. But, I want to be patient. I don’t need to run a marathon too soon and then never run again. I’ve read that many a runner’s last mile run was in a marathon. They do their one marathon, hate the last few miles of it and never run again. That’s not for me. I want to run several marathons, not just one. I want to enjoy the experience. My running motto is, “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t run.” I will do a marathon some day and it will be followed by another and another.

Goals? I like to think I have no goals. I’ll find out what’s at the end of the road when I get their. I have goals at work and in other areas in my life. I just want my running to be unstructured, unbridled and fun. I want things out of my running, but I’ve set no timetable to achieve them. Someone, once said that it isn’t a goal unless a time to achieve it is set. It’s only a dream. I’d rather have dreams than goals. I care more about what’s along the road than what’s at the end of it.

To Have Fun. This is why I run. Not, that every step I take is a pure joy. My muscles hurt like everyone else. My endurance wanes like yours. My mind tells me I can’t, as much as it say’s yes. But, somehow at the end of the day it is fun. I plan my day around my running. I take joy in knowing that I control my muscles, my endurance and my mind. I enjoy the time alone. I enjoy not being on call. I enjoy seeing my city on foot. I enjoy new places. I enjoy thinking like an athlete. If you’ve ever read the book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, by Dr. Seuss you’ll know what it’s like for me to run.

I like to run.

Run: 30 minutes pool jogging
Days: 34 consecutive.
Temps: 100 F at 9 pm

bike: stationary 30 minutes indoor
Days: 35 consecutive


Dan Seifring said...

It's a great book that every adult should read. I have my copy at home.

Firefly's Running said...

Awesome post, Pat!

Jeff said...

Pat -- great post. Incredible how addicting running can become.

J~mom said...

Great post!! I wish I could let go of my number obsession just a bit. :>)

BTW, I read this article once that by zig zagging around on a course you can actually add mileage to your race. I think it was in an old runner's world and it said that you can actually add a half mile to a half marathon by just crossing the street too many times. I really do believe that I did that on Saturday..it's just so me. LOL But I know it doesn't matter anyway. :>)

Pat said...

Actually you can add mileage by following the curb. sometimes the shortest distance is diagonally across the street. I am going to do another post about that.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Words to live by, indeed. Great post. I especially agree with the part about the marathon and running it when you are truly ready.

J-Wim said...

I love Dr Suess, would consider having more kids just to have reasons to read them again.... well maybe not, but I do like him.
Awesome post, very inspirational.

Margie said...

"Oh, the Places you'll go".
My favorite graduation gift to give.

Tom said...

I like your perspective around having fun, inner peace, goals, marathons maybe, but not now. You're taking a wise approach to the running life. The years and miles will behind you and you'll be glad you're a long-time runner. Nice post.

Irene said...

Yeah, I've done a few vanity fartleks! Nice post!

Joey Wu said...

Very good running and words to. I like and few dogs. Thank you.
Happy times,

Amy said...

What a great post!

Moon said...

Oh, this was a great post! All the reasons you've listed are totally inspiring. Here's to keeping on with the amazingness of The Run :)

Kate said...

I always do Vanity Fartleks, thanks for letting me know what to call them! Glad to see you love running for the joy of it!

Kate said...

I always do Vanity Fartleks, thanks for letting me know what to call them! Glad to see you love running for the joy of it!