Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Missing Out

Many people don't understand why we run, and, more often than not, we are at a loss when it comes to articulating a response.  This is even more true when those asking decide to cling to their predetermined loathing of our sport.  We simply cannot provide a comprehensive and lucid reason without delving into euphemisms and the ethereal, and astute antagonists will often point this out with their own anecdotal evidence to support such contrarian views.

Their loss.

Euphemisms aside, the minutia of our daily runs make them worth the while.

Noticing the flora and fauna, greeting the mail carriers, feeling the changes of the seasons; these are all such integral parts of life, and yet they tend to go unnoticed without something like a monotonous daily run to force them into view.

Big races, PR's, and physical milestones seem to warrant all the attention, but yesterday's run illustrated that the daily grind might just have some of the most important, if not the most subtle benefits.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


One of the little wonders of life is that seemingly identical situations can have an almost infinite number of outcomes.  This is illustrated well with the limitless experiences that are possible on a single route run day after day after day.

Perhaps such an observation is obvious, but Monday's run brought this presumably self-evident concept to the fore.

It was the same standard route around town, a variant of which is generally run three or four times per week.

It was the same standard weather for this time of year, which around here means hot and humid enough to have your forearms dripping within minutes of starting the run.

It was the same standard time of day, usually meaning a slowly waning volume of traffic. 

The specifics of the run aren't important; it could be any route to which you've grown almost monotonously accustomed on any given day, the "everyman" of runs. (I suppose the achievement of such an "everyman" of runs is a deep and hard-earned concept, but that's an entirely different post...)

Regardless of when or where it all occurred, it was the seemingly standard variances that paradoxically made it noteworthy: a careless right on red, a couple out walking the dog, some friends out for an afternoon walk.  These are the things that force ever-so-slight changes in an otherwise average run and thus transform the standard into the deviation.

A wide swing or a tight turn can provide vantage points and observations counter to the norm; who knew this stretch of yard was incongruously overgrown or that the small hanging branch that was such an annoyance during the winter could have such beautiful buds in the summer?

An ornery ankle or dead legs might be grounds for assuming it just wasn't a good day, but how gratifying is it to know that you toughed it out, and isn't there value in having the not-as-easy days as a basis of comparison...?

The wandering thoughts are endless and inevitably lead to a challenge of the definition or assignment of the term "standard."  What is a standard run?  Who sets said standard?  When did I/he/she/they/we define this elusive standard?

Alas, before all the answers to these questions, along with the countless others that arose, could be adequately answered, the run was over, leaving the mysteries of the universe to be pondered on another "standard" run.

...and if all this is from just one run, the extrapolation out to the rest of life is all the more entrancing...