The Measurement of a Run (and it’s not miles or meters)

Today’s Run

Time – 55:41
Distance – 6.12 miles
Pace – 9:06 min/mi
Elevation – 167 ft.

It was a “get out and run” day. It was breezy, cold, and sunny, which makes for a cool, but comfortable, run. The distance wasn’t bad, but I was tired and wanted to be done from the beginning, although it was a little easier in the middle. About mile 4 I didn’t want to do it anymore, but I had to get home, so I was able to just keep going.

Is It Just Another Run?

Sometimes, a run is just a run. There’s not much special for it, other than time spent on your feet. And, on those days when running doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore, loops are better than out-and-backs. With a loop, you have to keep going to get home. Out-and-backs allow you to turn around at any time. The days with mental challenges are the days that I, personally, need a loop course. I have to be able to force myself to keep going in order to get home.

It seems to me that thinking about more things in life as a loop would be helpful. One can’t turn around at any point and start just bringing it in when it comes to life. If that’s the case, then you’re mailing it in, which is not a recipe for success. Seeing the path as a loop means that you won’t see the same thing twice until you get to the end.

Life is different as you go through it. Everyday brings something that you haven’t seen before. We rarely get to go back the way we came, and, even then, it’s still changed in one way or another.

Sometimes when I go running, I pick a new loop, and I don’t know how far I have to go until the end. I have to expend my energy in a measured way in order to be sure that I can get back without injury or severe bonking. In life, I need to make sure that the effort I put in doesn’t wear me out too much, or I lose focus, desire, and the drive to get things done. Bonking on the run is like burnout in real life. Too much will wear you down.

Success is a measured effort put out over time to accomplish goals. Running success is the same. Consistent training over time will equal quality growth and increased ability. That’s why it’s never “just another run.” It’s the measured effort.

Why I Hate Running

Yesterday’s Run

Time – 41:15
Distance – 4.24 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 187 ft.

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Little Buddy hates running, too.

Easy day following a harder day. Just tried to keep my pace from speeding up into the tempo run range. It didn’t feel bad at all, and my legs were really solid. I’ll be back into the rhythm soon.

Why I Hate Running

To be clear, I don’t hate running all the time. I hate a lot of things about it, though.

I hate that I’m still trying to get away from the fat kid I was when I was younger, and he seems to always be right behind me. I don’t remember him being that fast, or having this kind of endurance. I keep getting pushed to get out the door because I need to put him in the rearview mirror and keep him there.

I hate that it seems to take forever to get faster, despite all evidence to the contrary. Last year in July, I was running 2.5 miles at 12–13 minute per mile pace. It’s 9 months later, I’m doing 8’s and 9’s for my miles, and I know that 12–15 miles is a reasonable long run. Perspective is hard to get when you do something regularly without taking time to sit back and view the work being done.

I hate the fact that I like doing this so much that I find myself daydreaming about taking a run when I’m in the car on the way to work, or in the evenings while winding down from the day, or that I find myself running in my dreams. This is getting a little obsessive.

It is, however, pretty cool that get to keep running, in spite of the fact that I seem to hate it so much. Maybe I’ll go for a run after breakfast…

Running Isn’t Simple, Is It?

Today’s Run

Time – 38:30
Distance – 4.30 miles
Pace – 8:56 min/mi
Elevation – 131 ft.

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Got out the door again, despite the desire to stay in. Ran a little harder than I needed to, but it felt good. Just a quick out and back to get the routines down again.

Running isn’t simple, is it?

Running seems like it should just be a simple thing. You put on shoes, shorts, and a shirt, and go run. It’s like that most days. Maybe a treadmill if necessary, or a long shirt or hat if cold, but the process is simple.

Sometimes, though, it’s a lot more complicated. There’s the bargaining, the convincing, the affirmations that “Just do it, you’ll feel better. Promise!” It can be a chore that seems like it never ends, because you know that you have to do it again tomorrow. It can be like a thief that steals time, daylight, or the ability to get work done around the house. It can involve watches that track everything but spy satellites, running clothes that wick and comform and don’t smell, and shoes that were designed by NASA and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Running isn’t hard, though, because running isn’t the outcome. It’s the means. That’s where my confusion was for a long time, and still is on occasion. I don’t run because of the run. I run for the other things. Years with my wife and kids because of health. A body that is stronger and will not fail me as quickly. A mind that needs the relaxing quiet I find on the roads and trails. My outcomes from running are the reason I run.