Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ode to long-distance running

I did a 10.75 mile run this weekend--was only ("only") planning to run 10 miles, but ended up running farther to finish up the Prospect Park loop--because, you know, I couldn't not finish the loop. So much of long-distance running is a mental game (although, of course, training helps)!

My run started off sluggish, but after a few miles I was feeling really great--the weather on Saturday was unusually cool and Fall-like in New York, and I was getting that runner's high feeling that I could run faster, and run forever. And, I started feeling really happy and grateful that I brought long-distance running back into my life. I talk about marathon training and running sometimes when I speak at writer's conferences. About how one of the things that's most satisfying about running is that it's perfectly measurable. I ran 10.75 miles this weekend. I ran it with an average of a 10 minute, 20 second mile. Those are accomplishments that can't be taken away. Writing a book, even if it's never published, is also that kind of accomplishment.

Long-distance running--really, any kind of running--helps me think and get my head sorted. I generally like listening to podcasts when I run, but I often just let myself think. Sometimes I do work while running--draft emails in my head, think through problems. But, usually I just think about my life.

I prefer running outside with nature. Try to take in my surroundings. I love the solid feel of the ground under my feet. Sometimes I people watch while I run. There's always a lot going on in Prospect Park. Plus, I love looking at the sky.
A scene from an evening run in Prospect Park
When I ran the marathon ten years ago, I was actually in the process of going through a break-up. Running after (and during!) break-ups have always helped me put things in perspective (and, let's be honest, get back into dating shape!). And, believe me, I had a lot of time to think about things and the relationship while running the marathon. It gave me the peace and clarity to know that even though it would be painful, I would get through it. And, I did. There's nothing like running 26.2 miles to help you believe that you can accomplish anything, survive anything.

Training for the marathon this year has helped give me that same peace and clarity after Greg's death. Once again, I know I can get through it. I can do anything. It also gives me time to be alone without feeling lonely. I'm so glad I decided to run the marathon again this year, both to help raise money for cancer research, and for my physical and mental health.

I had a good weekend. Didn't do any work (although I could/should have), but had nice dinners with friends Friday and Saturday evenings, binge-watched some Mr. Robot, and spent a marvelous day today at the beach. Beautiful, peaceful, lovely. I swam in the ocean twice, and it felt exquisite--I honestly don't recall the last time I swam in the ocean, but I should really do it more often.

I hope you all had nice weekends, too.