Is Running Always Pure Joy? Maybe!

Today's plan was for a nice, easy road run from home.  I set out with good motivation and about 90 seconds into it, just around the corner from home,  I stopped.  All that great motivation had blown out of me like the snow cannons blasting for avalanches in the winter.  I decided to walk and try to find some reason just to bag the run.  Ah, let me check, I bet my legs are tired.  Hmmm, nope, they actually feel great after 3 days in the mountains and over 10,000 feet of elevation gain, and heart rate is perfect and responsive too.  I am dehydrated, darn, just spent all morning and early afternoon procrastinating my run to catch-up on my hydration from yesterday's 2.5 hr run in the heat.

No excuses there, so I will just run up the hill to the main road and turn left rather than my usual right and just do the 2 mile loop back to home.  That's it, something is better than nothing, right?  So I tell my athletes anyway.  I get half way up the short hill and start walking again.  Ah, I have forced so many of these runs over the last 20 years, I can just turn around and go home. This road run is just not as exciting as running up Death Canyon tomorrow.  What good will this run do anyway.  The family is gone getting flowers, I promised myself no more 24/7 coaching, and the lawn is mowed - no run guilt to grab a hold of when I needed it!

Well, ok, ultra mode, I will walk to the top of the hill then turn around. And well, it is 70 degrees out and blue skies, the kind of day I visualize on those minus 20 degree days in February, so let me try running again.  I actually did feel great and the 360 degree view of snow capped mountains didn't suck either.  The Valley landscape was alive and so too now was my running. I decided I was not going to force anything and just run and let it happen.  The purpose of this run was to get some consistent turn over and leg speed on the road after my 3 days on trails.  Before long my stride was smooth as silk and even better, my brain was firing and I was in the flow.  Without realizing it, I had settled into the pace I had planned to hold for this run and felt my form coming together, when you should be tired, but you feel great.  When you least expect it, running rewards you!

And as I turned onto the bike path for the last 2 miles of my run I could feel the emotion and adrenaline hit my back, stronger than the tale wind I now had, blowing me even faster and more effortless, like the last two miles of an epic race.  The week's thoughts flooded into my brain.  Thoughts of how two of my athletes raced to first place wins, both course records.  Thoughts of the emails I had received from folks who have read The Cool Impossible.  Like Ken from Texas, who booked a red eye flight to visit and run with me in NYC and will now start training for the Pikes Peak marathon.  Or David, who at 33 years old, plans to quit smoking, start running, and make serious changes in his life for his Cool Impossible.

I was now finishing this run like it was some major run accomplishment for me.  My 5 mile planned run turned into 9 miles and I can still visualize running on the bike path, tree lined on both sides with the Grand Teton framed in the distance.  Like a tunnel, I could hear the mountains yell, "These these these are are are the days days days that make make you you bet bet ter ter!"

This this this is is running joy joy joy!

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Comment by Eric Welsh on August 7, 2013 at 8:34am

I have had runs where before I realized what was happening or why I was walking. At first it really frustrated me but now I take a quick assessment and see if there is a reason to walk and if not when I am ready I try again. Mostly, I try to keep moving and outdistance the demons.

Comment by David Pearson on June 8, 2013 at 9:20pm
I totally relate to this post. The demons have been addling my brain for years until now. Until applying the wisdom imparted thought the Cool Impossible. Today, a planned 3 mile recovery run turned into a 7 mile run of pure joy.

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