I have a friend who has run lots of distance races. And he is serious about it. He sometimes wins and stuff. He trained for the Olympics. He has put in some work and some time. I asked him one time how he stays motivated. He said that he sometimes just gets out there, even if he doesn’t feel like it. Rain? Cold? Not enough sleep? Tough. Get out there and run anyway. It was over a decade ago he said this to me, but his words were sticky enough that I think about it on days like today. I was just plain old sluggish.
Someone asked me recently, “Are you a runner?” I used to think of myself as a runner, but my running has been so sporadic and so without accomplishment the past few years that I don’t think of myself the same way. I said something wishy washy like “I guess so,” and the conversation moved on. I guess I can say again that I am a runner, but I still feel like I should do more as a runner to call myself that. I should run far, or fast, or at least enter some events now and again. All I’m doing these days is poking down the road. Every day I’m shuffling.
I guess my accomplishment is 32 days of running in a row. That is something anyway, although it feels like a sideways way to accomplish something. It feels easier this way. I mean, I just go for a run, today and every day. I don’t worry about training plans or regimens or rules about when to run. I just go every day. I don’t go all that far, mind you, but the miles add up. Today I managed 5.6 miles. Not five and a half miles, since my house to the pond is 5.6. I’ll take the extra tenth. Like I said, it adds up.
I got plenty of sleep last night and even ate breakfast before I left, which I typically do not do. Still, I felt like a slug. I was dragging my feet. I was oozing down the road. I was pokey. It felt a little silly. I had to keep pushing myself forward and telling myself how ridiculous it was that I was going so slowly. I called myself some bad names. But I put in the miles and called it day 32. I thought of this friend of mine all those years ago and how he just got out there, whether he felt like it or not. The rest of what he said was this: “No matter what, I always feel better once I get out there; it is always worth it.”
On this point, he was right on the mark.