“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
Sometimes, I need to remember this. I have been struggling with running lately. Not because it has been hard, but because I have felt unmotivated. I have actually been doing really well this summer. My pace has improved and I am a stronger runner than I was last year. But, I'm in the midst of a blah phase. It's not surprising. That's the thing about running. It isn't always wonderful. Every run isn't enjoyable. Sometimes there are phases when running just sucks. But, there are also times when running is amazing. When you can feel your feet flying beneath you and you feel invincible. When you can't imagine doing anything else. I have been running long enough to know that the lows are always replaced with highs. The crappy runs are always overshadowed by incredible, perfect, magical runs. Those of us who run do so because we're always striving for that perfect run. The one that clears your head and makes sense of the world. The run that grounds you. The run that makes you feel superhuman. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it makes all the crappy runs worth it.
Today, I had one of those runs. It didn't start out great, but I quickly settled into it and my legs started working independent of my head. I just let myself go and surrendered to the road, and it was great. I ran 9 miles with an average pace of 9:04. That's not a great pace for fast runners, but for me it's awesome. It was exactly what I needed as I prepare to run Ragnar at the end of the month and a half marathon two weeks later. It's what I needed to move past my negative running phase. It's just what I needed.
Today, I didn't worry about my pace or my training or how far I had to go. Today, I just ran, and it made all the difference.