Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Anticipation and Accomplishment

I'm thrilled to be a part of this training team and for the experience it will add to my running resume. I have trained for races solo, I have run with groups, I have followed plans, I have learned through experience what doesn't work. I've challenged myself with new distances and new paces, and I've geeked out over watches that spit out an abundance of post-run data. The CVE/Lululemon team is providing me not only with new knowledge about myself as a runner (VO2 max? Zones? Race pace- what?), but also with new running colleagues, and two mentors that I could not be more excited to learn from. With a new (to me) approach and having someone other than me actually monitoring my progress, I'm excited to push new buttons and hopefully find new aspects of running to love. That said, this morning, running with my regular running crew, in the usual spot, at the usual time, reminded me why I get excited about all this in the first place.

There's a special moment that comes at the end of a summer run- humidity in your lungs and sweat on your face, the rising sun lifting the humid fog off the morning roads. For a few moments, everything is calm. Your heart rate returns to normal as cold water glugs down your throat and it's physically impossible not to smile- at least on the inside. Sure there are a few cars going by and plenty of fellow runners to acknowledge- but the world is still quiet, in that unique way that only happens before 7am. Pre-dawn quiet is so different from after-dark quiet. There's a stillness and a sense of accomplishment that, for me, epitomizes the joy of running. I find these moments at other times throughout the year- in the cold of winter when the sky is just beginnig to lighten and I'm watching my breath steam out of my lungs in misty puffs of exhertion. Those moments- when I'm headed towards my hot cup of tea and warm shower- are little mini-Christmas's, anticipating the sweet reward of warming liquids to warm my chilled extremities.

I'm sure it's different for everyone. Some may find that joy in cresting a steep hill or greeting a blazing sun with a vigorous 'can't stop me' effort. Stranger Other runners find their peak joy in watching the distance tick away on their treadmill, finding something (soothing? steady?) motivating in the mechanical rhythm. For one reason or a thousand, we do it. Over and over again, just like footsteps on the pavement. Some run to relieve stress, some run to be fast. Some of us are out there to lower our dress size, others because we refuse to limit our ice cream intake. Someone is always training for something, and someone is always being inspired. Some run because they simply don't know a life without it. Running is therapy and punishment, challenge and reward. It can be a means to an end, it can be the highlight of your week. No matter what kind of run you have, it is an accomplishment worth acknowledging.

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