Sometimes I lace up my running shoes and leave my house at night with no clear path and no idea of how many miles lie ahead. I go based on feeling knowing the number of kilometers my training schedule says I should do, but listening instead to what my body feels. And so I head off, in the dark, without my headlamp, and a mile and a half later I find myself on the False Creek seawall, my path illuminated by the streetlamps. And I feel good and I continue on. And I realize I’m not thinking any real thoughts. Meditatively listening to the same song in my headphones on repeat I’ve no worries at all. I’m not even aware of the blister slowly growing on my little toe or the fact that I’ve been running for over an hour. I just feel good. And so I continue on. And I pass through Yaletown and turn back before reaching Stanley Park. And running across the Burrard Street bridge I realize I can see the stars – the first time all year I’ve seen them from the city. And 11 miles later, I’m lying on the floor of my room thinking it’s been a while since I’ve felt this good.
And the next morning when I awake I contemplate making breakfast, but the running high from the night before quickly has me thinking otherwise and I lace up my shoes knowing that a repeat of yesterday’s route on tired legs will be excellent training. Sometimes I actually do consider my training schedule. And sometimes I misjudge how warm I think I'll get while out on my long run. And I wear a short-sleeve shirt and leave my gloves at home when it's 41 degrees outside. And somewhere around mile 4.5 it starts raining. And by mile 5 I can't feel my forearms or my fingers. And I laugh at myself realizing this isn’t funny at all. And I begin cursing the air as I watch other runners in their warm water-proof jackets trudge along past me. And I stop. And I walk. And I think why the hell am I doing this to myself? And I suddenly realize walking isn't helping. I'm only getting colder and more wet. And so I start running again. And I come to the base of the Burrard Street Bridge thinking how just 15 hours earlier this felt so good and the stars were shining and I could have gone on forever. But now the blister on my little toe is in the forefront of my mind along with how much I hate the cold rain and how I would give most anything for a warm shower. And I know in that moment that I’m not running home to take that shower. No. These 10 miles lead me straight to the pub.
Sometimes running feels amazing. And sometimes it really sucks.
Just be committed to it, it’s mostly mental.
My buddy sent me this Aoife O’Donovan tune this morning. Appropriate.