Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Love

Sometimes it's as basic as putting on a new pair of cool looking lime green Kinvara 5s and busting out the door for a run. Getting back to the primal joy of why we do this...

Those days when it's not about threshold miles, pacing, bursts, cut down runs, pacing charts, mileage totals. Or how this run fits into the grand scheme of it all training wise.

No, it's the simple sensation of movement and the very act in of itself. The connection felt with the world around us while we trod over and through it. I thought about my buddy Ryan up in Pennsylvania and his calendars. Back in the day he always had one pinned up somewhere with little numbers written in the day's boxes with the miles he had run. There was something so romantically wild and magically invigorating about it... the way he would look at it and talk about it... perhaps describing just how one of those numbers had been achieved.

One day last week I went for a run with my ten dollar wrist watch and glanced at it at about what would be one mile into the run and noted the elapsed time read 8:37. This is why we do this. Because this particular day on this particular run it took me exactly eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds to get from point A to point B. It wasn't fast, it wasn't slow... it just was.

Last Friday and Saturday I was blessed again to help coach the Cape Fear Flyers in a big USATF meet in Myrtle Beach, SC. This meet I took a little time to check out some of the field events like the shot put and javelin back behind the stadium. And the pole vault and hi jump inside the track. You can fall in love again with all of this twenty plus years later...

When the kids PR, or medal, or place. Or just have fun. And come up to you later and tell you about it again. Yeah, yeah. The smiles.

And I got to run too. The 1500m early Saturday evening, after a long, hot day of coaching. Since I was the only open/ masters runner they thankfully thru me with all the high school boys, including three from our team. Standing on that infield, I wasn't sure if I would be able to summon the physical strength to do more than just jog hard a few laps around the track. "Five minutes of hell" laughed Chris.  But I said a short prayer and sucked up some courage and stepped out into lane 8 on the waterfall start in turn two and waited for the gun to go off...

And I ran like hell, and afterwards realized that I loved every precious second of it. I told Chris to duck in front of me heading into turn 3 and said to myself to follow him round and round for as long as I possibly could. I held on thru the first 300m past the finish line, and back through 400m and one lap in. Made it through 800m still sticking a few strides behind him. Looking at nothing but the back of his white Flyers shirt. Hearing cheers and encouragement from coach Joe and Shawn, Elaine and a few of the kids every time we went by the front stretch. Which all kind of fuzzed sound wise into the whirling dervish of the whole thing, but I could hear certain specific voices even though I couldn't fully process all of what it meant in real time ...

Since then life became a task of clipping off a hundred meters at a time. Get to 700m to go, then make it to 600m. Keep taking it. Ok...now make it to 500m to go. If you can take it next is 400m. All that matters then is to make it to 300m left in the race. Nothing more. Make it to 300m. Nothing else matters. Nothing. That is the task at hand. Good. You made it. Now get to 200m. Get there. It's just the back straight away. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep taking it. Get to 200m. That's all that matters. Yes, yes... now run the turn. Into the turn. Keep digging. Keep taking it. Get to 100m. Get through these big turns and get to 100m to go. Don't lose sight of that shirt. That white shirt is there. You are taking it. You are taking it. Not backing down. You are doing this. 100m to go. It's just the front straight away. Last one. Count it down. Past lane markings. Clip those things off. Past the long jump pit you can see out of the left corner of your eye. Gotta be half way now. Finish it. Finish it. That white shirt is there. Looks to be moving a little faster. Go with it. Keep taking it. It'll be over real soon. You are taking it. You took it. You took it and did it. It's over.

It was over. It was done. I staggered about the track. Congrats from and to Chris. I think James too. Not sure, but probably. And Thomas too. I wasn't too far behind them either. Time?  Wow, nice. 4:48?  Yes on the score board it read 4:48.80 behind my name. I was pleased. I was high. I heard some congrats now.  Thanks, Thank you. I smiled.

I felt blessed. I feel blessed.

Because I love this. From every race to every easy run. And everything in between. Run on my friends.