Time to Run

Navigational Art By Colleen Yorke, © 2015
Our bodies are mysterious wonderlands, we can go from feeling fine to yucky to great within just a few miles. Finding ourselves struggling in between does not mean that the rest of the run is destined to be rough.  Most of us have been running long enough to recognize when to keep striding and when to cut it short ... or even call it off. Even though we'd like to think it, our bodies are not machines. We are not obligated to run lemming-like or to chase others who are botching their performances by running too much or too fast. 

Earlier this year I succumbed to a runner's injury, and in some ways I was lucky the sharp snap of pain immediately froze all further running endeavors. Low impact swimming, kinetic tape, arch support and silent prayers, brought me back on my feet after just 16 days. The aftermath of a plantar fasciitis however lingered on for months. For weeks my speed averaged around 9.30 minutes per mile, while my running buddies formed small colored dots ahead. My weekly mileage shrunk to about a third, and long runs were out of the question. Until last week...I ran from Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles and back, pacing at 8.29 minutes per mile both ways, and clocking 20 miles total. I did not plan it. There was a lot on my mind, and I just went for a run. 

Surely we wonder at times what we are doing out there. Over the years, we have given ourselves a thousand reasons to stop running, but we always come back to where we started. To give up running is the easiest and the hardest thing in the world. We have done it only a thousand times. Now that I am in law school, free time has become scare and my runs sacred. Sleeping in until 4:30 am, and then going for a run seems perfectly normal to me. Thanks to my frequent appearances in brightly colored clothing on local roads, and on at least one occasion in business attire and colorful sneakers, people assume I am a runner. And frequently I hear "I would like to run, but I don't have the time." 

Bluntly put, we find the time for the things that are important to us. Period. Nobody cares if we run or not. Nobody cares, but us. Our kids, the dog, the traffic, our supervisor, errands, friends, a little extra sleep - the list of claims on our time is endless. One impediment to consistent running is taking an all-or-nothing approach. Things are not always going to go like they 'should' or how we want them to. There will be days where some aspect of reality intrudes, but that does not mean scrapping the whole affair. We run because we want to, and because our life is so much better, when we run. If that means getting up early, so be it. 

I have run close to 1,500 miles this year. Working through the break-up of an illusion, I have returned grounded to the reality of the streets. I have met strangers, who have taught me more about life than words could possibly convey. No matter where life takes me three years from now, rest be assured I will hit the roads running ...