It was pretty hard to get myself out for a run this morning. It was chilly. There were other things to do. I just didn’t feel like it.
“But, you need the exercise.”
“It’s a beautiful day.”
“You’ll enjoy it once you get started.”
“You’ve got a race coming up.”
All true, but the race is only a 5k. No more half marathons until next year, and a 5k hardly counts. Those motivators didn’t help. My Muse says we do this “because we can.” Too simple. It’s more complicated than that.
I used to say that I started running in high school, and by the time I finished college, it was so ingrained that I forgot to stop. That was a long time ago, and I still haven’t stopped. So, one reason is that it is something that I have “always” done. It is part of me, and if I give it up, I will lose part of me.
Part of it is a desire I expressed to myself when I changed my attitude toward running sometime around age 40. I was running a lot and was hanging with a pretty fast bunch of distance runners. I felt guilty when I missed a day, but I realized I wanted to still be running when I got to 80. Because 80 was so far away, that realization changed my whole attitude toward the necessity of running today. Very relaxing. I didn’t change how much I ran, I only dropped the guilt when I was too busy to get out.
Part of my need to run comes from the joy of running with my children and grandchildren—all of whom are much faster than I. We have had the pleasure of going to a big race and having all of them show up to participate. There is something about the experience of going out for a long run with 20,000 or so of your new best friends that can’t be duplicated.
But none of these reasons is sufficient to get me out. None of these gets me past the increasing difficulty of making progress in training. None of these gets past the irritation of race times that keep getting slower. The thing that gets me out these days is fear. It isn’t “because I can.” It’s “who would I be if I couldn’t.” Being unable to continue running represents to me an irreversible step toward old age and infirmity—a step I do not want to take.
Fortunately, there is nothing to suggest I will soon be unable to run. I’m free to continue denying that life happens. My declining performance can always be fixed by more and better training. The sky is always blue, and I just keep getting younger.
Didn’t I just write a post where I said I was through with denial? Drat. Wrong again.