Hungry Mother on “that” run:
I thought about my “magic run” back in 1977, when I was on sabbatical leave at Duke. On day, when I was doing a power walk, I jogged for 3 miles for the first time in my life. That run was smooth and effortless. I felt as though I could run forever.
I think everyone who’s ever run (or biked/paddled/whatever) somewhat seriously has had that day. If you’re really lucky you’ll get several of them in your life. To be fair, anyone who’s ever seen me run knows that I’ve never had an “effortless” training session in my life, but I have had a couple of days when it seemed like everything just clicked perfectly. In my case, they usually end with a violent vomiting session because as good as I feel, I’m really overheated or pushed beyond where I can run comfortably. Is that the runner’s high I’ve heard so much about?
As with most of my other successes in life, good runs for me are usually fueled by spite more than anything else. I ran my best 5k on what was supposed to be a recovery day after a 10 mile run that I completely bonked on and barely finished. Luckily, I was highly pissed off at the beginning of the race and was further agitated by a jobroni (he’d later become my running nemesis) who kept passing me then slowing down and letting me pass him back. With about a half mile remaining I decided that this jerk was not going to pass me again, and I ended up edging him out by about 15 seconds to take the title in the fat boy division of that race.
I’ve had a couple of training runs over 13 miles that seemed to go perfectly too. One of these runs started with all the people I was training with taking off at too fast of a pace for me–I’m very slow at the start, but usually accelerate as the run goes on and end up just kind of slow. Running alone gave me a few miles to stew, and I eventually began to boil. I think I ended up passing them somewhere around ten miles, and the site of them just fueled the fire–each mile after that got faster and faster. I actually ran a personal best for the half marathon distance that afternoon, although it doesn’t count since it wasn’t a sanctioned race. Unfortunately, it was also about 92 degrees outside. After I puked I almost passed out and had to go sit inside a nearby restaurant in the AC and sip water for about an hour.
I really showed them, huh?Â Here’s some running zen to help you remember why you do it.