I drank some Gatorade Pro, but I didn’t want to. I put on my running gear, but I didn’t feel like it. My allergies were acting up, I wanted to take a nap, but I am in training for a marathon… so I begrudgingly trudged out the door.
As I was driving to the greenways for a run, I was imagining which course I would run my 4 miles. Hal Higdon’s Advanced II training schedule said I should run 4 miles at my target marathon pace. Should I start out by the Earth Fair market and run down the 3rd Creek Greenway. No. I almost always run that. I don’t feel like it. Should I start out at Tyson park and run towards the UT football stadium? Nah. Just don’t feel like it. Should I run Cherokee Boulevard, where I had “Slayed the Specter of a Bad Run” before? No. I really don’t think I’m supposed to run hills today.
I turned towards that one anyway. “After all,” I reasoned with myself, “I’ve got to run somewhere.” Thankfully, as I approached the parking lot near the zero mile marker on Cherokee Boulevard I saw something inspiring: the cross country course at Sequoyah Park! I have watched my kids run several cross country races there. Each time, I was reminded of my own high school cross country career. I always told myself that I would run the course and see how I would do. Today was the day!
Seeing the park this morning triggered good memories of my kids and the good memories of my high school experience. I was immediately drawn. My body was a few minutes behind my heart. I was a little stiff. I jogged a few hundred feet and stretched just a little. Right there and then, I decided that my body would just have to kick in because my heart was saying, “Go!”
I ran the full 5k course and added 1 mile. I started out stiff, but trying hard and squeaked out the first mile in about 7:30. I started to get a rhythm going and gradually loosened up. I was running in my happy place…caught up somewhere between old memories, new memories, & the flat grassy area I was running on next to the river/lake. I was caught up in several moments at once and all of them were good.
I ran the final 2.15 miles at around a 7:00 mile pace and walked another half mile back to the car. My goal for the day was to run 4 miles at around a 7 minute pace. I managed to go a little farther, on grass, and kept it at an average of 7:08. Not bad for a day when I just really didn’t feel like running.
The main accomplishment of the day, however, was capturing the joy of running when I didn’t seem to have it.
How do you get to your happy place?
“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor
Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running: