Have you ever had one of those runs that you just want to bottle up and save forever?
One of those runs that sneaks up on you when you least expect it and teaches you a thing or two?
One of those runs that, when all is said and done, reminds you of why we do this every day?
Well, I had one of those runs this morning...
The alarm went off at 4:30am and I quickly turned it off. All the usual stuff ran through my head.
I am not training for anything, I have a long day of work ahead, I need the sleep because I've just returned from a kid's soccer tournament, etc, etc, etc...
But, when the alarm went off again, on cue at 4:39am, I got up, padded my way to the coffee maker and started the pre-run routine. Before I knew it I had my shorts on, then my shirt, gloves, hat, and finally, shoes...I said to myself, "Just get the run in, at dinner you'll be glad you did." I headed out with no other goal than to get it done.
And then, It happened. Soon after heading out the door I got to the turn by the Y in 5:40 and the Highway Crossing in 9:20. I crested the Saddle in 12:50 and passed by the school in 15:50 (my previous PR was 16:00 to this point). I passed Sun Valley City Hall in 18:14 and crested the Dollar Mountain Hill in 24:10. "Hey, wait a minute, if I can keep this up I could PR the 9.3 mile Elkhorn Loop." I said out loud as if anyone could hear me. And, I got competitive with myself. I got to the turn to Elkhorn Village in 30:10 and crested the Big Climb in 36:00 flat. By the time I ran past the Sun Valley Reservoir I felt like I was floating. Through the cold, dark, predawn air I was moving totally and completely free. The rest of the run was a blur but in the end I PR'd the Elkhorn loop by 30 seconds over my previous best which was a full two years ago!
Does this matter to anyone but me? No.
Does anybody reading this care about my Elkhorn Loop PR? No.
Will this matter in my build-up to Western States next year? Of course not.
But, on this day, did this make me a better man? Absolutely!
Today's run was indicative and emblematic of what I love about running. No matter who you are, no matter how fast or slow you are, no matter how much you care and no matter who is looking, running, the sheer act of getting out there, makes us better. Running makes us better at who we are and running makes us better at who we want to be. In fact, for those of us who truly embrace it, running is who we are. And that, for me, is enough to get me out there again tomorrow.