As I write this column, I’m less than 24 hours out from hosting our homecoming meet, followed the next day by the Viking 5K, and then the Boynton home meet on Monday. The last couple nights, sleep has come to me fleetingly, as my mind goes over the event planning and the long list of things I need to remember. Along with this comes the wrinkle that just over a week ago my high school boys team got pummeled, coming in fifth in a meet we’ve won the last three years, and beat by two teams in our division. Stress, while not the overbearing kind, is definitely in full swing as of late.
I wouldn’t say I’m a stressed out guy. I am good at directing my efforts where they need to be in order to get things done. But I do usually have a lot of irons in the fire, things to juggle, and the list of things to do is constantly cranking through my subconscious. While it doesn’t keep me up at night, when I wake up, regardless of the hour, the list starts cranking through my head.
I can’t imagine what I’d do without my daily run. So far in the last 9 months I’ve only had 25 days off, and if luck stays with me, I’ll have less than 40 days of no running this year. Not only does daily running help keep me sane, it also keeps my body moving, ever active saving me from just crashing on the couch at the end of the day.
For sure, not every run seems like a blessing. I’ve trudged through my share of crappy running days this year. I’ve had a nagging achilles injury that simply won’t go away until I decided to take some real time off. I also broke my big toe again this summer, leading to the only two days in a row off this summer. Some days this winter were brutal because it was so cold. Some days this summer brutal as it was too hot.
But the mental benefit, being able to clear my head, is immeasurable. Requirements at school, trying to get all the work in at the farm in the few hours I had, all the running related tasks I take on while everyone is enjoying some summer down time, these things would churn me into a pulp if I didn’t have running to straighten me out. Nothing like a long run in suffering heat to reduce the tension created by that long list of responsibilities. If the sun and miles don’t kill you, neither will the things on the “to do” list.
As I get older the role running plays in my life morphs. While challenging my best performance used to be the focus of my endeavors, challenging the responsibilities of life, and beating them, is the main goal now. To not let life requirements win against my desire to get out there and test myself.
I don’t like that I’m no longer looking to push my physical limits however I’m satisfied that I still get the opportunity, or more accurately, make the opportunity, to get out there and get my run in. Maybe it’s simply an act of defiance, my push against the background of time. But I’m happy to make that choice and that I can make that choice.
Life isn’t simple. The requirements of life can get pretty complicated and convoluted if you let them. Time slips through your fingers stacking up regret after regret. However there are things in your life that can be simple, like the simple act of running.
See you out there.