Saturday, November 19, 2011
Today, my program called for a forty minute easy run. Even though lately my runs have been getting easier, for some reason, today's run was more difficult. Maybe it was the fact that I was running in the afternoon when I normally run in the morning. Or maybe it was the weather, cold after several days of warmth, a shock to the system since I've been running on a treadmill on any day that dipped below fifty. Or, possibly, just possibly, it was the Taco Bell that I ate just a few hours prior to taking to the road.
Whatever the source, when I started my run, all I could think about was how miserable my easy run was. In fact, I thought that this blog would actually just be me whining about my run. I even had a title: A Not-So-Easy Run.
But then one little thing happened that changed my whole view of the run: I looked up.
One of the things I've learned from the form class I'm taking is that I need to keep my head up when I'm running. I have a problem with looking down at my feet, making sure the path is clear and that I'm not about to trip on my own feet - which I often do when I'm just walking, let alone traveling at speeds of 6 mph. So, as I was running, I kept reminding myself to look up, even through my whining.
And about five minutes in, at the height of my pity party, I looked up and saw a hawk. It was a magnificent bird, spreading its wings and soaring above the sky. The bird was big, powerful, but yet graceful as it created perfect circles high above my head.
Something about the hawk struck me. That's what I run for, I thought, to feel like that. Humans can't fly the way birds can; our bodies weren't made that way. But they were made to run, to pound across the earth, to increase our heart rate and speed and cover as much land as possible in as short as time as possible. Running is a part of us; it's just something we were meant to do.
I may not be the fastest runner, but every once in a while I catch a good stride and I'll feel like I imagine that bird must, like I'm soaring high above the earth. The wind will flow against my face and my feet will barely hit the ground. It's the best feeling in the world.
As I stared at the hawk, I forgot about the cold, about the lateness, about the Taco Bell, and instead started concentrating on all the good things that make up my run. I'm lucky to run in a beautiful setting (Yeah, it's my neighborhood, but it's full of trees that are covered in the rainbow of fall leaves. Today, the skies were blue and the sun was shining and it was just a beautiful day.) I'm not feeling the pain of shin splints (or possibly a stress fracture) that I was suffering from before the Wine-and-Dine half marathon. I was free and alive and covering milage.
After that, my run got easier. I sprinted over the hills and dips of my neighborhood and landed at my house forty minutes later. I will never be able to really soar like a hawk, but today, at least I got a little wind beneath my own wings.
This is why I run.
3.95 miles, 40 minutes