“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or hump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” [Sir Roger Bannister]
Fitting in training around working two jobs and family obligations often means my life is completely planned out hour for hour during the week. Though weekends are busy too, I am master of my own scheduling – meaning I can tackle longer exercise sessions.
Waking up early on Saturdays becomes a joy when it means I can replace makeup, heels and driving to the office with a sportswatch, running shoes and driving to trails for a blissful unscheduled and unlimited run. Saturday morning with coffee and powerbar in hand, I headed to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park for a 10 miler.
I’ve been focusing on shorter strength workouts with the Peachtree and my first triathlon approaching this summer, so it’s been seven weeks since I’ve run anything over 7 miles. And Monday-Friday I barely manage to squeeze in 60 minutes of training each day thanks to the demands of my schedule. Like the crazed mileage junkie that I am… I needed a long, sweaty, thigh-burning run. I needed to stretch my legs over unwieldy terrain. I needed to scare the crap out of myself by almost stepping on a snake (scary, long, black, yellow diamonds, looked like a root, couldn’t breathe, mayormaynothavescreamed… do yourself a favor and DON’T Google “scary snakes” for identification attempts).
Ok… could’ve done without the last part. But those 90 minutes on Saturday, plus a hilly 90 minute bike ride Sunday, made my weekend. George Sheehan, one of my favorite running quotables, describes this feeling as our quest for happiness. He says “Happiness is different from pleasure… it has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” There is something about pushing my body, using it to its utmost capacity, and utterly exhausting my muscles that makes me feel so alive. It seems during these times in my life I come the closest to my true self.
“There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.” [George Sheehan]
… Which brings me to Monday morning. Sitting at my desk. Being a minion. Emails and paperwork and blaring phones instead of dirt and trees and frolicking in the woods. I hate that I cannot experience my weekend workouts more throughout the week. Seems unfair that adult responsibility relegates my top mental and physical health to two out of seven days, but such is life. Nothing to do now but start planning next weekend’s adventures…