Last night I had a run that reminded me of why I fell in love with running in the first place. The big storm that passed through Southern California about 10 days ago left in its wake weather in San Diego that easily competes with the most perfect summer days. The last few days have been in the low 80s even at the beach, the sun has been shining and the sunsets are epic.
My run was my second run post-marathon and it was definitely my best run of 2014. I had planned to get on the trainer after work to do an easy spin, but I couldn’t resist the urge I was feeling to get out on the road. Daylight savings time meant that even though I got home from work at 6 p.m. the sun was still high in the sky. The temperature was in the 70s and the my Oiselle bum wrap and origami tank were calling my name.
I ran alone and without a Garmin. I didn’t care about my heart rate, my cadence, my pace, or anything else. I just ran. I ran the same route I run all the time yet it seemed even better than ever. Everyone was out and about on the sidewalks and the boardwalk yet the crowds which sometimes clog up the sidewalk didn’t bother me a bit. I watched the surfers as they came out of the water, the mothers pushing their baby strollers, the children playing at their campsites, the girl friends catching up over a walk, the hippies at the park picnicking and singing, the focused, serious runners breathing deeply and the casual joggers just trying to burn some calories. A route I’ve run hundreds of times was more entertaining than it has ever been before.
Although my legs didn’t feel the most light they ever have and I certainly wasn’t breaking any personal records, this was an amazing run. I was running for the joy of it. Not because anyone told me to or because I want to qualify for Boston. As the sun started to set I stopped and took pictures, smiled at strangers and stopped again for more pictures of the same beach, the same walkway, the same view I’ve seen thousands of times. Yet it was the most beautiful it’s ever been.
I’ve learned some valuable lessons in the four years that I have considered myself a “runner.” I think the most important of all was the lesson I learned in Phoenix – when running only is about numbers and data, it takes you away from the reason you fell in love with running in the first place. I’m hoping that this run was the start of finding my way back.