I read recently, somewhere, in an article I have since lost and forgotten, about a runner who decided not to take days off. Why think about whether today or tomorrow will be a rest day? Why consider whether running today makes sense or if a day off would be better? The author just ran every day. It made a lot of sense. I find time to run most days early in the morning, before everyone else rises for the day, and if I didn’t take days off I would not be able to make excuses. “I am tired and it is dark and I am still sleepy and the bed is warm; I need a rest day anyway, so I’ll just stay in bed.” If I ran every day I would just get up and go. I would have to.
I am on day 28 of running every day. I started off small–two milers. I have been building from there. Today I only ran three miles. It does not seem very far. I used to think of five miles as my minimum run distance. But after a couple kids added to the mix, and too much time away from real running, and back surgery, and making a living and other sorry excuses, my distances have shortened. My longest has been about seven miles in those 28 days. Not shabby but I hope to go farther. It is hard not to imagine running 100 miles at some point.
Of course, this morning I was not ready to run 100 miles. If I was still in the habit of making excuses I probably would have stayed in bed. I was tired. My back was sore. My calves were sore for criminy’s sake. But I tell you, walking out when the sun is just coloring the horizon, and the woodcocks are dancing over the fields, and the song sparrows are just warming up their voices, and the mountains are silhouetted on the horizon, it just can’t be beat. So I ran three and got the miles in and added a day. I hope to hit 100 days in a row.
I need to think about things as I run. Well, perhaps I do not need to think about things, but it is hard not to think about things. Today I thought about Caballo Blanco. He is the ultrarunner who was featured in Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run. Two days ago the New York Times reported that he had died. If you have not read the book, I recommend it. If you are a runner you will be inspired to run more. If you are not a runner, you will be inspired nonetheless. It is a terrific story. Caballo Blanco, or “White Horse” lived to run. He, and his adventures, made me want to live more simply, and to run because it is just plain fun. He went to the desert canyons in Mexico to learn from the best, and he died on a run in New Mexico. Quite a life.
So I thought about this man as I ran this morning. He wanted to be remembered as being “authentic.” It seems he was. How will I be remembered? What mark will I leave? How will I impress my children with how to live authentically? These were some of the questions I thought about as the sky grew light and Jupiter faded into the dawn. And then I ran home.