I ran a really difficult 28km run last weekend. It was hot and I didn’t have enough fuel in my belt. I considered throwing in the towel at 14km, at 19km, at 22km… you get the picture.
The one reprieve I felt from the sun and the fatigue came as I ran through Point Pleasant Park. Instead of following the main trail and running without being able to escape the sun, I wound my way through the trails in the woods. I jack-knifed back and forth, running where I wanted to, when I wanted to. I ended up spending about 4km in the shade and it was enough of a breather to get me through the last 5km of the run.
I’ve been reading the book “Born to Run”. A friend of mine recommended it. While it took me until I was about one quarter of the way through it to really start enjoying it, I am loving the stories. The basic premise is that this man kept getting injured while running so he set off to find a hidden tribe of runners in Mexico to see if he could figure out how to heal himself.
My favourite part of the book isn’t about his journeys to and from Mexico, or about the Ultra Marathon he tried to arrange. My favourite parts are the rambling stories about people who run just because they love to run. Granted, these people are super elite ultra marathoners (because people don’t write novels about regular Jane’s like me who plod along and train for average-speed marathons …unfortunately). But still — they run because they want to. Interesting concept, isn’t it?
And it’s not like they don’t feel pain or fatigue. It’s not like it’s “easy” for them or they are somehow “built for it”. They are just people who were maybe a little lost or lonely who just started running in the woods.
I could really identify with a lot of the stories, because while I am certainly no ultra-runner, I credit running for making me… happy. Or rather, for helping me let myself be happy: with myself, with my marriage, my children, my parents. Running calms my mind; it seems to stop all the shouting and music and background noise and while I’m running, it’s almost like I’m not here anymore. And for a while afterwards, there is this Zen Kaitlyn full acceptance and happiness calmly sitting in Lotus Pose deep inside of me.
Reading about others running through fatigue and mind games made me feel better about my crappy run though. Because, at the end of the day, I did it. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t especially fast, but I pushed through and did it. And really? That’s all that matters.