Friday, February 22, 2008

Why I love running

Last night I went to see a movie called The Spirit of the Marathon. It's a documentary that follows a handful of runners as they prepare for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. The movie includes world-class runners Deena Kastor and Daniel Djengo and middle- and back-of-the-packers. It was a fascinating look at runners and how and why they run. A lot of the film was rah-rah stuff about how running a marathon will change your life, but even more of it was, for me, just the sheer joy of running.

I rode to the movie with one of my running friends, and after the film she and I talked about whether the film made us want to run another marathon. She said it didn't - but she's run Chicago and Boston. I said yes - I still feel that I have one marathon to run. I found out I was pregnant with Ella six days before my third marathon and didn't run. Not that I would make a different decision, but I still sort of regret not getting that one last race in.

Mostly, though, the movie reminded me why I love running. The sport is so pure - you put your shoes on your feet and head out the door. There's no hiding behind fancy equipment; it's just you putting one foot in front of the other. There are times when I'm running when I feel that my body is functioning perfectly as a unit - my arms, legs, lungs, heart and brain working as one. It is those rare zen moments that keep me going on the frustrating days when if feels like I've never run before.

I ran this morning with JTS, one of my favorite running partners, and it was just such a perfect way to start the day. It was crisp and cool with a huge moon reflecting on the lake. I felt so strong while I was running and so proud when I finished. I truly felt at peace with the universe for those five miles.

I've been in a funk about running lately. Not actually about the running, but about having to get up at 5:00 to go running. Even with great running partners, it's hard to drag myself out of bed on those cold dark mornings, especially when at least one of my children has woken me up in the night. But last night's movie and this morning's run helped to erase a lot of my funk.

Tomorrow I'm going to tackle a tough seven-mile route. It will be my longest run since my loop around Central Park and up Broadway during my trip to New York two years ago.


Anonymous said...

hmmmm. I run for two reasons: 1. I'm being chased, and 2. I'm chasing someone, usually a small person. I have bad knees and ankles, so running usually leaves me in pain. I so envy people like you who can run. I can walk, though, and have been known to hike my legs off.

I've tagged you for a meme over at my place.

LTYM said...

I admire you for running. I personally have always hated it. I'd rather walk for 50 miles than run for two. But lately I've been getting up for a 5:30 a.m. boot camp where I have to run, I have to say, it definitely gets you in shape quickly.