more holiday mileage

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January 1, 2014 by scratchtype1

Over the past 2 week period, I’ve run more miles than I ever have before in a 14 day period. 61.3 miles in 14 days. Traditionally for me, I will find myself worn out after an increase in mileage, and usually find myself struggling towards the end of an increase. But there were no such feelings on today’s run, 6.22 miles of a pleasant easy-pace. I definitely know it was easy-pace because with the help of Amazon gift cards I got for Christmas, I ordered a Garmin Forerunner 110 with HRM and so now while my feet or huaraches might be low-tech, I now have a very cool watch that tells me how far I’ve gone and with the HRM, lets me see how much the heart is working. Another addition to the running gear is 3 pairs of wool toe socks and a pair of running tights. I tried out the running tights New Year’s Eve and then today, New Year’s Day, I tried out the toe socks. My feet got to feeling almost too warm towards the end of this morning’s run as the temp got up near 30 by the time I was home.

So thanks to Christmas, I’ve now got some gear to help keep me warmer when needed, and I feel the Garmin is going to be very useful, it’ll allow me more freedom to run wherever and get a good measurement of the distance and time, and it’ll help me keep the runs that should be done easy, stay easy. Yesterday, instead of just sticking to running loops at the township park, I also zigged a number of times on the path that goes across the middle but I never had a good approximation of its distance, and it gets a bit tedious sometimes to measure out distances with map utilities like the one at runningahead.com where I keep a log.

Still, I wondered this afternoon: is it a bit of defect in me to want to know the time and distance so much? Really, in some ways, if someone really loves running, maybe it should just be about that and it wouldn’t matter at all if there were no clocks and no measurements of distance. Or is it fair enough to think that wanting to know those metrics is a manifestation of the love I now feel towards running. I don’t know. I’ve loved those measurements during the time when I ran and didn’t love it. But that doesn’t mean the want to know the measurements is tainted either. Perhaps it’s just a peculiar manifestation of my peculiar character, it’s not wrong, it’s not right, it’s just what it is — me.

But I would hope, if say the GPS satellites were to crash and burn, if the internet failed, and if I forgot all knowledge of about how far things are, and all watches were to vanish, that I would still then run because of what I feel starting down at my feet and their touch upon the earth, up through my legs and hips, up through my chest and then turning into an array of electro-chemical signals up in the head, that I would continue to run. I can see that it’s possible. I’d still run. It’s not just about chasing numbers. It’s something more fundamental now, something fundamental that I found with the first walking steps I took barefoot on that hike back in early June, that exploded into a sublime pleasure when I took the first barefoot running strides and suddenly the soles of the feet caught fire with sensation and stimulation, when the book with the title Born to Run became more than just a great tale about people who run, but became a title for me, of me, to me.

It’s that kind of realization which made me grin hugely as I ran by a fellow going the other way on the park path last night. The wind was biting and cold, I wore three shirts, the running tights, a knit cap and 2 layers of cheap gloves. My feet were bare. I had run maybe 3 miles by that point and was feeling really good. As I went by, I grinned and said, “That wind is frigid!” But there was no despair or torment in that, I was expressing how happy I felt then and there, in the growing darkness, dancing along the park path, so much alive.

I don’t run anymore just to prove something to myself like I did back 2007-10. Now it’s about the way it makes me feel — something which I may have never learned while laced up inside the pairs of shoes that I had worn. Something which I may have never learned if there hadn’t been some hard and unfortunate turns of fate along the way to where I am now. I am richer in spirit now for this way of running. And I am also still impoverished in spirit in others. Win some, lose some, such is life. It is bitter and it is sweet. It is soft and it is jagged. Some hands are gentle and some are iron. Some hearts are empty and some are full. My heart, while not always happy, has always been full of feeling, whether it be grief or love, joy or anger.

And if the weather doesn’t go bad tomorrow with snow, I will run after work. And run again every day that I can, run every day I can until the heart is finally emptied of life, however many years that may be ahead.

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