You Run Enough ...
You run enough. You don’t have to run more. In fact, you probably ran too much. You don’t need to run a marathon. Or any other race. Unless you want to.
Whew, there I said it. I’ve finally gotten used to the idea that I’m not going to run in the Olympics or win the Boston Marathon. And that’s really OK. Honest.
I guess some of this has happened because I got a call from a certain magazine asking me to resubscribe to benefit a very worthy charity. I declined. Because, first, if I took advantage of every resubscribe offer they send, I’d be getting a copy until the turn of the next century.
But more importantly, I’m really tired of reading about Ryan and Kara, Meb and all the icons of the sport. I don’t want to read about how I should run more. That I should do more marathons. And, if I do marathons, I should do ultras.
And, after almost half a century (my competitive career started in the spring of 1964) of racing, I don’t really need to read that if I just did this or that, I’d be able to run just a little faster.
No, I’m done with all that. I’m done with racing and competing and struggling for a PR. But I’m not done with running. Not at all. In fact, you can say I’ve had it with racing, but I’m in love with running more than ever.
It’s true that I’ve had some incredible experiences during races: my best ever five-mile run. My high-school track team in the 60s. My first (and only) marathon two and a half years ago.
But those great experience pale into insignificance when compared to the everyday experiences I’ve had on the run.
I’ve seen wildlife of almost every shape and color. I’ve seen dawn arrive in some of the most gorgeous countryside on the face of the earth. I’ve seen sunlight sparkling off the dew along my running path. I’ve admired the eerie, opalescent glow of fog. And I’ve marveled at the breathtaking quiet during a winter’s snowfall.
I’ve never felt more alive before or after a run. On the day after my daughter’s wedding. On the day my grandson was born. Or even on the day after a warm and intimate event with my loved ones.
As I’ve said many times before, I’m a better, healthier, happier person because I’m a runner. I’m better adjusted, I think better, work harder, and feel better all day long, after I’ve started it with a run. So why in the world would I want to put that at risk (of injury or over-use) by running in a race?
I’m hoping my decades of running experience give me the credibility to grant that same latitude, cut you that same slack.
You don’t have to run more.
You don’t have to race harder.
You don’t have to run more marathons.
Unless you want to.
Don’t make anyone or anything ruin what you have today. Run that race if you want to. Or feel free to bag it for a leisurely run through the park (or even a few extra moments of worship at St. Mattress).
Very few of you are going to win the Olympics or a major marathon, either. Sorry, that’s true. That’s just the way it is.
But most of you can have what I’ve enjoyed for a lifetime: the incredible feeling of wholeness and vitality that flows over me every time I run.
For nearly 50 years, that’s as good as it gets. Today’s elite runners like Ryan and Kara and Meb can’t get anything more out of running than I already have.
And I wish all of you runners out there, young and old, could have the same incredible experience that I’ve had.
Here’s the secret: I’m pretty sure that has nothing to do with racing.