It’s not that other activities are not fun. Sure, I like to ski. Uphill. When it’s sunny and there’s no wind. And powder, but no avie danger. Sure, I like to hike and scramble on more technical rocks. Moving slower can be a nice change in pace. As long as I’ve already run that day. And yeah, I like climbing. Inside. When I have nothing else to do and desperately want to hang out with my friend Josh when he needs a belay partner. But let’s be real. I don’t like climbing. And biking? Sure, once I year I’ll go on a bikepacking trip. And I hate every second. Except when it’s over, I’ll dream of next year’s trip.
But let's be clear, this is NOT about other activities. This is about running.
I love running so much. You could take away pretty much everything else in my life, minus family and friends, and as long as I can run every day, I’ll be a net positively happy human. And happy humans are usually good humans, right?
I love the never-ending process of running. How every day is seemingly insignificant, just one hour out of 24. Or if we’re lucky, more. Daily runs are just a blip of time that we could practically forget about.
Yet, when we zoom out on a week, a month, a season, a year, multiple years, a collegiate career – all of those blips become a force in our lives. They’re so important, so molding and close not to our taut legs, which yes, are strong af, but close to our souls.
Running touches the deepest parts of us in a way that’s simultaneously disturbing - how the heck did you get here?! – but also comforting and grounding. When we choose to let the process take over the minutiae of day to day, to not obsess over each mile and hour, to let months or even years of injury slip away like breaking through a wave, emerging saltier, but cleaner, this submission to the grander scheme allows us to truly enjoy each individual run. From accepting the process, I’ve learned to focus on the beauty of each unique, imperfect run. I’m obsessed.
I L I V E for every run. Even the most mundane on pavement. And of course, the opposite of mundane runs: the ones that snake up and down on Earth's ridgelines, like a personal roller coaster. The motion of my legs gliding, swishing, powering through air over ground and when sweat finally breaks through my pores, runs down my neck and pools on my shirt – this stirs my soul, tickles that deep spot of euphoria and comfort and challenge. The running high is so, so real! Even when I feel like shit, when I’m sleep deprived, without coffee or breakfast, PMSing, stressed about time, short one glove, slipping on ice — even on those days, F L O W is still possible. It’s a choice. Whether I laugh and skip a few times, bounding into a sprint, churning as fast as possible for 30 seconds, until my lungs nearly burst. Or whether I stop, sit on a log or a sidewalk and just breathe, lower my heart rate. Whatever I do and however I feel, I am the most grateful when running. We have a choice to love it or hate it. Or something in between. For now, I’m obsessed.
P.S. I've had the "worst" year of my professional running career this past year. No major wins, yet this is what I'm taking away from 2018. It's been a damn good year of running.