Controlling Your Run

20 May

Yesterday, as I set out for a longer double-digit run, I found myself saying “I must control this run. This run does not control me” over and over.

Sometimes, I let runs control me. Sometimes, I let the weather control me. Or my mood. Or my lack of sleep or lack of fuel. But yesterday, I decided that I was in control. And that there were no rules.

If I had to walk a little or wait at red lights, it was fine.  If I wanted to stop and run barefoot on the beach, that was okay. If I wanted to alternate listening to podcasts and music, that was good.  And running the last mile without any musical distraction was great. I smiled at every person wearing Chelsea apparel and child in a stroller.

I ran into the Breast Cancer walk women. That was completely out of my control. I imagined wearing red Mario Kart shells around me that would detonate when people bumped me.  Sometimes mental images are fun.

The beach was alive.  In all of my ocean runs from October until now, this was the first time I’d seen the beach full of people.  And people-watching is entertaining.

My legs were light and my lungs were clear. Well, for the first miles.  But as my legs grew heavier and my lungs felt crowded, I still made sure to control my run. Negative splits.  Excitement that I graduated. Nervousness for the Chelsea versus Bayern Munich game to come. I tried to find enjoyment in everything I saw – bridges, apartment building architect, marketing slogans, snippets of overheard conversation.

I thought about how a run is more than a run. It’s a process that involves sleep and rest and fuel and water and mental acuity and preparation. The run is only the final building block of the pyramid. Some are good. Some are bad. I have built a lot of run pyramids but I have many more left in me to build.

And that thought made me smile. Which made me run faster. Sometimes controlling your run is simply the same as enjoying your run.

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