I had a near perfect run on Monday. It was wonderful and it didn’t have anything to do with breaking a pace time (I’ve run faster) or a distance threshold (I’ve run farther).
To me, a near perfect (I don’t like to say perfect – because it implies it will never be better and that is a very sad, final thought, don’t you think?) run involves certain elements all aligning to create an overall feeling that can’t really be matched by any other activity that I’ve found. The elements can change from one near perfect run to another, but the common denominator is the sense of peace and satisfaction that they produce.
I had completely psyched myself out for my run after work. And I mean completely. I am very good at doing this. In fact, I have a keen ability to forget all progress I’ve made and any skill I’ve developed; instead I convince myself that I am totally inept and will fail at whatever I do. It’s a “fun” little game I unwillingly play with myself.
As you may recall, I’ve registered for my first half-marathon (ahem – and my second – but we’ll talk about that later) and I’ve been training for it formally for a few weeks now. I’ve been using a Runner’s World Smart Coach plan as a general guide and, as such, last week was a bit of an easy, scaled back week – which means that this week steps things up.
Now, by stepping things up, the plan isn’t asking me to do anything crazy. But the act of knowing that after this ‘easy’ week, I will begin really starting to increase mileage – running longer distances and adding an extra day into my running routine – created just a tad bit of self-doubt and apprehension. And by a tad bit, I may be minimizing somewhat.
So it was that all day Monday I was convinced that I wasn’t a runner at all. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t going to be able to do this. Just wait – today it was all going to crumble to bits. Today would be the day that I wouldn’t be able to run. Just like that. I wouldn’t be able to do it. Yep. That’s right. That is exactly what was going to happen.
I realize this is not logical.
Anxiety, my friends, is not logical.
But, what actually happened was this: I got home after work, put on my running clothes and shoes and headed out.
And . . . it was awesome.
The weather was great (okay – it could have been about 5 degrees cooler, but it was pretty nice). My body felt good. My breathing was rhythmic. My legs were spry. I passed by people biking, trimming their gardens, having a happy hour drink outside of restaurants and they smiled, friendly. I saw a beautiful group of birds hanging out at Reed College. Squirrels cheered me on as I passed by them. Okay – maybe they didn’t literally cheer me on– but their little squirrel spirits sure seemed cheerful.
It was fantastic.
I did 5.2 easy, but quality, miles and made it home feeling like I could have gone another 2 at least. I also had that feeling that only a good run can illicit in me – clarity of mind, freedom from anxiety, and confidence in myself.
That was a damn near perfect run.
Note: So, I mentioned having registered already for my second half-marathon. It’s true. I did that. My first is the PDX Half on October 7th and I was so excited about doing a winter half that I also registered for the Holiday Half in December. Eek!