OK… So Amy over at Runners Lounge tagged me to post about my favorite run. I guess I have a lot of them and for a lot of reasons. My first race after a 11 year layoff after destroying my back was pretty special. My first run with my son, my first run with my wife, my marathon. And there are even some old ones from WAY back that I can still recall. I used to run on a path by the beach in Ventura, CA. One day the fog was in and it was thick. It opened up just enough for me to see the surf line and there were about 12 dolphins surfing the break. It was mesmerizing… There was another run (Sulphur Mountain Road… Google it) just north of Ventura that went UP… and I mean REALLY up… for 9 miles. Brutal, but nothing short of spectacular. I would run any of these again in a heartbeat.
But I have two true favorites. Runs that define me as a runner. They are not spectacular, in fact they are rather ordinary. But they are definitely the most special.
First, we have a trails system here in Columbia that is fantastic. You can start running wherever you like and as long as you stay on the main trail, you quite literally could run a hundred miles. One such part of the trail takes you back and forth across a creek (Hinkson) several times as it winds just south of the University (MIZZOU). At the peak of my marathon training I set out on an ordinary run on this trail. The route was Hinkson to the MKT to the 4 mile mark and back. Sound exciting? It was an 18 mile run. The weather was unremarkable except it was hot. It was dark when I started and I was alone except for the eyes in the forest that glowed in my headlamp (mostly deer). During the first few miles of my long runs I rarely check my watch because I am trying to get a feel for my body on that run. At the 3 mile mark I checked my watch and it read 27 minutes. Now this would normally be fine but I was training for a 10 minute marathon pace and I still had 15 miles to go! Oops… But I felt so good I decided to just see how many 9 minute miles I could run. Although a 9 minute mile may seem excruciatingly slow to some, for me at the time it felt like I was flying. The wind in my ears was ME running. The miles clicked off and I kept checking my watch. Still on pace. I hit my turnaround feeling like I hadn’t even started running yet. I felt a clarity and a focus that I have only seldom ever experienced. I cruised in with my last two miles at 8:30 pace. I will never forget it. And every run since then has been to get back to that spot. I have come close a couple of times, but haven’t gotten there again. That was when I knew what “running” really felt like. That was also when I knew I had become a runner.
Finally, and not just because I’m hurt, my MOST favorite run is…
My next one.
No matter when or where. You can call it an addiction if you want. Fine. Sign me up for the program.
But running is a part of my life. I hate off days. I get excited about waking up at 4:45am to run with the club. I like buying cold weather gear. I covet race entries. I am happiest when I run. I am miserable when I don’t (so you can imagine my current mood). My favorite run will always be my next one. It represents potential. To be better. To be lighter, faster, more agile, healthier and a better person. How can you not want that?