Saturday, January 01, 2011

I run because there are a limited number of miles left..

It's a well worn cliche that you often don't appreciate what you have until it is gone. Sometimes it's important (albeit painful) to be reminded that virtually all you have is ephemeral and transitory at the end of the day. Such is also the case with running.

If you're extraordinarily lucky you will manage to circumnavigate serious aggravations or injuries, but chances are you will find yourself sidelined at one point or another. For those who love the act of running, being deprived of the opportunity to get out and cover a few miles is devastating. Being sidelined always makes you appreciate the fact that running truly is a gift.

One of Steve Prefontaine's most famous quotes is 'to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.' Steve was known for pushing himself to the absolute limit in every race he ran. He ran to win...always. There was never any question of whether or not he gave his best.

Steve's words have always resonated for me, but I think to not run (when you are capable of doing so) is 'sacrificing the gift' as well. Running is ephemeral and transitory. Running has a shelf everything else.

Having seen my own running goals thwarted on several occasions over the years I've come face to face with the reality that the natural aging process may very well deprive me of achieving these goals. I'm an eternal optimist, but I am a realist as well.

Perhaps more importantly I recognize that the aging process will eventually slow me down significantly, restrict how far I can go, and at some point down the road prevent me from running at all.

So, I continue to head out on the road despite inclement weather, despite fatigue, despite discomfort because I run on borrowed time. I have no illusions that running will be there for me tomorrow.


jennifer said...

Great post! Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Someday you will not be able to do this. Today is not that day." I liked it so much that I made it into my triathlon blog title. It's a good reminder for me. Happy new year!

Caratunk Girl said...

Wow. This was awesome - loved it. People are always asking me why I train so much, and my answer is about what you said (although you said it much more eloquently than I do!)