…on your marks…
Running is, to state the obvious, exhausting. I tell myself that I sometimes run for fun, but that’s not exactly the case. Running is not fun, it’s exhausting.
But I still run. I have my New Balance sneakers, sweats of some athleto-stretch material and I make new playlists every once in a while. And about two minutes into my run I regret it and I debate whether I should turn around or at least shorten my goal by a few blocks or so. Then something happens; I keep going and by minute six or so this voice is quieted by the sounds of machinery burning in my brain underneath whatever random song, which ranges from Van Morrison to Municipal Waste to Wu Tang, is booming in my headphones.
My usual loop totals about 2.6 miles, and as I conquer it, I divide it into 3 nearly equal parts: The stretch between the cemetery and the park that overlooks a view of NYC, a part that goes slight uphill through residential blocks, then finally the return home back past the cemetery. I remind myself that I escape death twice on the way.
I like running because it makes me feel like I am training for something. The stretching, the pacing, the goal setting, and the attempts at a balanced nutrition. Not to mention the fact that I ache for a day, then DO IT AGAIN the next.
But what am I really training for, a race? One of those community 5k events that shut down the town for the morning so people of 8 and 80 years old and between could staple a number onto their tang top and slam orange peels on the public square.
I’ve become one of those people, but it feels opposite from signing up for a race; then running for the sake of training for THAT race. I sign up for the race so it could give me a sense of purpose for running around town all of those times.
I’ve done 1 race every year for the past 5 years, and despite my sub-average ranking and end time; I am always happy with not only finishing but also seeing a gradual improvement upon the previous.
Though I never remember my times nor rankings (I think my last race in June ’19 was 5k in just under 28:00) I remember the tunes that chugged along in my headphones to keep me going. It went like this:
- Year 1: Mastodon “Once Around the Sun”
- Year 2: High On Fire “Luminiferous”
- Year 3: Baronness “Purple”
- Year 4: Fear Factory “Demanufacture”
- Year 5: Nine Inch Nails “Bad Witch ep”
There you have it. A morning motivational piece about why I do the things I do and why I look forward to keep doing them.