Throughout my time as a runner long runs have always been in relation to a training schedule. Lately though I have not been able to pick a goal marathon that I want to train for for longer than four weeks before something pops up or I realize that something is conflicting on that date. However even though that’s the case, I’ve still been spending my Saturday’s on the trails for hours with Robert lately- albeit not for the miles he has- but still to be point where I am constituting long run status.
I’m not sure what it is that shifted in me, but I never before thought I would have the motivation to spend the weekends putting in double digit mileage without having a race that I’m training for. Now though I keep looking forward to Saturday mornings when I get to spend the day jumping over logs, navigating water crossings, and getting treacherously close to the edges of mountains. Part of it is that this is one of the few times all week when Robert and I just get to spend a few hours together alone and completely uninterrupted. We may pass another hiker every now and then, but the majority of the time it is just the two of us alone in nature. Another part of it is that I simply get to get lost in my run. I can’t worry about my lesson plans for the week, trying to find a new house, or how I miss my family. I just worry about making sure my feet are still moving one foot in front of the other as I climb up another hill. I have to simply focus on not turning an ankle on a root or slipping on a rock covered in moss. Solace comes over me as do the endorphins and everything is okay as the sun hits my face as I overlook the Tennessee River from the top of a mountain.
It’s nice to finally just be running for me. No longer for the medal or even for the time. I’m sure I’ll get back there- especially once Robert’s race season begins and I am spending my weekends surrounded by ambitious runners achieving crazy feats. I also know that if I’m seriously going to be crewing 20 miles for Andy at Leadville (gulp) I am going to need to remain consistent about getting my mileage up since the elevation around here isn’t going to even come close to matching that in Colorado. However until that point I’m okay with just spending the time out there for me. Running the pace I want and the distance I feel like each weekend. It’s freeing to simply be running for the fun of it, to be running for me.
People always ask me why I run and what I’m training for. I run for me. I run because it makes me happy and I run because that’s when I feel most complete and it always helps me to get out of my head. I run because it’s quality time with ME and it allows me to explore the most amazing places on my feet, not be a teacher for a second, and simply be a runner. Running may not be the way you feel that freedom and fulfillment, find your “run” and go do it. Make some quality time with you, not for the race/the game/the dress size, but simply because you deserve it. Stay safe out there!