Wednesday, June 2, 2010
As of today, the hiatus is officially complete. I will head home, then run this evening as the sun is setting. Probably only about a mile, but it might be a full on 3.5 miles. I haven't decided yet. We'll have to see.
Now would be a good time to recap my running "strategy" and my approach to the whole thing.
First and foremost, running is not, and should not be, a strange suit we humans put on for the sake of fitness or a means to some other end. Fitness, or body health, or whatever other end you seek to gain from running is not an end, but rather a by product of the act itself. Running, in other words, IS the end. We run because, evolutionarily speaking, we are runners. Now, that's not to say that we all are Runners, because that is a state of mind. But we are, as sure as we are humans, runners. That's what separates us from the animals. That is what makes us who we are. Paleoanthropologically, it makes sense, too. Running afforded us a steady source of meat that our slow witted cousins couldn't secure for themselves because they couldn't run like us. They were left to sit back and bludgeon their prey to death and risk life and limb in close proximity to an injured beast that was more predator than prey. Meanwhile, we could chase down swift beasts that were more accustomed to being prey until they dropped dead from exhaustion or slowed to the point where a point could be introduced to their bellies. That is the essence of how we became what we became. We run not because we wish to get fit, we get fit because we run, and we run because we are runners. Only after we run can we then become a member of that strange tribe of people we call Runners.
Secondly, I have a general problem with authority. Consequently I have trouble joining with running clubs and maintaining a running calendar. I do maintain a running diary, of sorts, where I track my times and distances. But that's about as disciplined as I get. If I can't run today, I don't run today. I'll pick up the miles later on, or I won't. Either way, I'm not going to get heartbroken about it.
In the same vein, I have trouble buying into the "common wisdom" of typical running clubs, training programs, and the "you should" crowd. Sure, I know I should eat certain foods and wear certain shoes, and go out at certain times, and maintain certain paces, and taper, and ice, and stretch, and blah blah blah. I like to hear that stuff. I really do. No, SERIOUSLY, I do like to hear that stuff!! I just don't abide by all that stuff and, quite honestly, don't care if you do, either. If it works for you, go for it. But it doesn't work for me. Sure, maybe I would run a mile in only 9:34 instead of 9:38 if I did some minor tweak of this or that. But 4 seconds? Really? I heard the same crap when I was cycling, too, that I should this and should that. Bah. Trimming off 4.8 grams of bike weight isn't going to make a whit of difference when you're pushing a pair of "C"s up a hill (as in, CC, as in 200 lbs). Besides, gazelles don't taper. Antelope don't go out for pace runs. The rarimuri don't stretch or ice. And if you're truly a runner, you should be able to run at 3:00pm or 5:00am, the position of the sun is just a coincidence. Hell, Kenyans don't even WEAR shoes for the first 16 years of their life.
Finally, if I had to sum up the approach to running in just a few words, it'd be these: just run. Everything else is a result of that first principle. Do you want to run a mile? Just run. 5k? Just run (a little farther). Marathon? Just run (a little farther still). Ultra? Just run (even further). A 4 hour marathon? Just run (a little faster). Want to lose weight? Just run. Want to lose more weight? Just run (a little more). A lot of weight? Just run (a lot more).
It all starts there.
That's how it's always been.
See you on the trails.