I'm reading this book called Born to Run, have you heard of it? It is pretty popular among runners and for very good reason. I've been wanting to read it forever but just finally got around to it and it is truly changing my life. Granted, every good book I read is my favorite book at the time and usually consumes a good part of my life. But every page of this book has an unusual way of inspiring and baffling me at the same time. I think it is one that not only runners, but all human beings should read. It is absolutely incredible what our bodies are capable of. I will hold off on reviewing the book before I even finish it but I will tell you now that I am convinced I was born to run.
Yesterday, I was feeling frustrated because I had had various things get in the way of working out for the three days prior. I had un-finalized plans with Ingrid to go on a bike ride and/or get dinner. When she said that her impending move would prevent her from spending a few hours on a bike, I agreed to just get dinner but refused to give up the opportunity for a good sweat. I decided to finish a run at her apartment, from which we'd walk to Dupont for food.
I set out a little before six and I had in mind that I should run to the Capitol. It is over four miles from my apartment and I hadn't run more than five and a half since my half marathon two months ago. As I train for my big bike ride, running has been more of a filler workout when I don't have a full hour or more to devote to spinning or biking. Unless, of course, I have the pleasure of running with Nikki, in which case it is a social activity. But yesterday, I felt like setting out and just running forever. I looked it up and a run from my apartment to the capitol and back to Ingrid's apartment would be about seven miles. At the beginning, I tried really hard to get over my slight feeling like I had an obligation to run those seven miles because I was guilty of not having exercised in three days.
But then I settled into a groove and I just ran. I kept thinking of all the wild (real-life) characters in my book who run 100 miles on the regular. Of the fact I'm learning that maybe there's a way to prevent running from killing my knees and ankles and feet and so on. That maybe I finish a run because I tell myself I'm tired and I think that I should be done when my body is really capable of going so much further. Of the stories of runners who wait for the so-called "beast", the wall of the agony of a run or race, to come just so they can overcome the pain and the obstacle.
I don't want to turn this into major cheesefest. I'm still the same person with the same body and I'm not going to set out to run 20 miles tomorrow with this new idea that I'm invincible. But I am in awe of the tales in this book and they have made me want to push harder and run farther. So I ran 8.7 miles last night.
This picture is confusing but I'll explain: I ran .4 miles before my garmin picked up satellite and then I ran 4.02 miles from there to the capitol. My garmin died when I got to the capitol and I conveniently had my phone on me so I turned on NikePlusGPS app thingy. I ran 2.56 miles from the capitol to Ingrid's apartment. We walked to and ate Sweet Green in Dupont Circle and then talked until it got dark. Then it was time to go and, being suited up in my tempo shorts and asics, it seemed only natural that I run the 1.7 miles home. So it was nearly nine miles on the books for a Thursday night. I know that nine miles may seem like nothing to the marathon and ultra runners out there. But, to me, it's more about the way I ran those miles. It was somehow so much easier and less significant than a run of that distance has ever seemed in training for a race. And it is twice as far as almost every run I've done in the past two months. And I didn't care about my pace, I never felt like I needed to be done, and I had fun. My legs are sore today, proving that biking and running do use very different muscles, and my foot hurts a little, but I still feel great.
It's a long story and you may be shaking your head at my infatuation with this book and my random long run. But I don't care, here is all that I'm really trying to say:
- The human body is ridiculous and unbelievable and I love mine so much. Love yours too. Get out there and see what it can do. It will probably surprise you.
- Read born to run.
- Go to Sweet Green and get the May salad. It is the best seasonal salad I've ever had there (mesclun, green beans, grilled onions, goat cheese, candied pecans, lemon sqeeze, pesto dressing). Trust me.
Have you read born to run? Did it change your life or am I crazy? When was the last time your body did something that surprised you?