The joys of running and the desire to share that joy is a big bond of our community. Here are some thoughts, shared with the hope that we can all reflect on the concept of distance running in a way that feeds our joy.
Distance Running; is there such a thing as non-distance running? By default, doesn’t running cover distance? What really is ‘distance’ anyway? Dictionary definitions can be quite thought provoking. Here is a take on the word distance, applied to the idea of running. I invite everyone to put his or her spin on the concept as you read.
Distance (noun):The extent or amount of space between two things: Yes, there is a lot of space between the start of a run and the end of a run. It often starts and ends in the same place physically, but are you ever in the same place mentally or physically when you end? Somewhere along the way, things magically change.
The state or fact of being apart in space, as of one thing from another, remoteness: In a life of constant things and activities, how do we keep things apart? How do we keep some space so that the separate things don’t all merge into one overwhelming thing that consumes us?
The interval between two points of time; an extent of time: If only every interval in time could yield this much confirmation of being alive. Though we meticulously time our runs, the ones that stand out the most are often ones the quality of the run was so complete and engaging that all other experiences melted away and you simply were the run. Timed runs can be great, timeless runs are amazing.
Remoteness or difference in any respect: Creating a difference, in us, over time is the entire basis for training. Is it the difference itself that attracts us to the training, or is it the knowledge, skill and ability to know that we can create a difference, live a difference, be a difference? This is powerful stuff.
An amount of progress: Yes, when the difference is progress, things are good. Yet progress in mileage and speed have finite endpoints and the years keep progressing on. But progress in finding joy, health and camaraderie throughout the years is unending.
Distance (verb): To leave behind at a distance, as at a race; surpass: That’s it. It is not the who you surpass; it’s the what you are able to leave behind, even for just a short time. Sometimes just a short break is enough. A few minutes, a few deep breathes, the moving of the body to feel alive and in control. That is enough to leave it behind and move on.
To place at a distance: Do I place other things at a distance from me, or do I place myself at a distance from them? Either case offers the opportunity of a new perspective. Most of these things I refer to placing at a distance are not really things, they are thoughts constructed in my own head. Just remembering this concept, that they are my thoughts, my things and I can place them were I want, is a perspective that is well worth the effort of any run.
Distance running, yeah, that distance part, those are all reasons why I love to run. I feel good just thinking about it. I hope everyone reading this can feel the same way and pass it on. Go the distance.
originally written for Endurance Magazine, April 2016