One year ago, I loved running. But that’s it. I loved it, but I wasn’t super attached or addicted to it. Running was something I did and something I enjoyed.
I ran the New York City Half Marathon in March 2010, but didn’t sign up for any races after that.
In fact, I didn’t run another race until the Turkey Trot 5K with my family on Thanksgiving.
At this time two years ago I had just completed my first half marathon — Napa to Sonoma in the blistering July heat — and was about to start training for my second, the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.
Running hadn’t taken over my life. It was a hobby.
But now, running is a way of life. Running has somehow become my entire life.
It’s the only thing I think about.
A few months ago I finally accepted that I am, in fact, a runner.
My life revolves around running.
I realized just how passionate I am about all this crazy stuff while I was running this morning.
Central Park was cool, and as I approached Engineer’s Gate it started to rain.
The rain came down hard and steady.
Coach Cane’s plan for this morning was a warm-up, followed by 3-mile repeats at my Battle of Brooklyn goal pace, plus quarter-mile cool-downs in between each mile.
The Battle of Brooklyn race is this Sunday, and I’m shooting for an 8-minute pace, though my real goal is to just enjoy the race, since I haven’t been able to do that lately.
Running I enjoy. Racing I’ve been finding difficult.
As I took off on the first mile, splashing through puddles, I was shocked at how easily I settled into an 8:00 pace. My legs were heavy during the warm-up, but once I got going, I felt like I was running above the road rather than on it.
There were tons of running groups in Central Park this morning, and it seemed like they were all tackling speedwork in the rain. Runners flew by me in both directions, and I thrived on it. I tried to take a little bit of their speed and let it rub off on me.
As I cooled down from the first mile, I knew it would be tough to pick my pace back up. But I did — and my jaw dropped when I looked at my watch after a quarter-mile to see 6:53 on my watch.
My pace was solid this morning on each repeat. I ended up covering 7 miles and I felt like I was flying the entire time.
I’m not sure if the rain distracted me or helped me buckle down and focus. Either way, it worked for me.
As I ran back to my apartment, I was beaming.
Running isn’t just something I do — it’s something I love.
It’s who I am.
I went to the gym last night for some cross training.
The Chisel class was fine, and the spinning class was bland.
Neither gave me any kind of rush that compares to the high I was riding this morning.
I will be honest with you right now and tell you that I was thinking all these happy runner thoughts while Celine Dion was playing on my iPod. She sings “I’m Alive” and life is good. Get on board with this French Canadian songstress, people. You won’t regret it. She’s divine.
When I got back to my apartment, I looked around and sort of laughed to myself.
Running hasn’t just taken over my life — wake up at 5 am to go run, run in Central Park, surround self with runners, think about running all day at work, talk to anyone who will listen about running, go home, eat dinner that won’t irritate my stomach while I run, go to sleep to dream about running — it has taken over my apartment!
My obsession is everywhere.
This marathon training lifestyle suits me.
I would rather stay in most weekend nights to rest, whether it’s because I have a long run the next morning or I’m recovering from said long run.
I would rather spend a night with runner friends than dancing at a club (most of the time).
Almost all of my disposable income (which barely exists) goes toward new running shoes, running gear or Gu Chomps.
My laundry basket is filled solely with dirty running clothes.
My hero is Shalane Flanagan. (In fact, I’m on my way to spend the day at our “So You Think You Can Dance” winner photo shoot with Season 8 champ Melanie Moore, and I kind of with we were shooting Kara Goucher…or Sweaty Emily…instead.)
I would rather sweat than…not sweat.
I used to spend a lot of time reading “healthy living blogs.” Now almost all of the bookmarks on my computer (no, I don’t use Google Reader) are running blogs.
When did this happen?
I’m not sure when running started taking over my life, but I love it. I haven’t always been a runner. I’ve had to work really hard to run 1 mile at a time, then 4 miles, gradually building to half marathons and, most recently, a 20-mile jaunt through Washington, D.C.
I will never be the fastest runner. I will probably never be really awesome at running uphill. But I think I’ll always have a place in my heart for this little sport I’ve fallen in love with.
Every single day I picture myself crossing the finish line at the Hamptons Marathon.
I don’t know if I’ll love or hate the 26.2 distance, but I know I love putting in all the hard work to get to the start line.
AND YOU? Running: love it or hate it? (I assume you at least kind of like it, or want to like it, if you’re reading this, but share your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.)