Ryan and Nathan miss Barry (and I try to wax eloquent over running)

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  4.5
Time:  6:35 am
Pace:  0:8:13
Temp:  25 degrees F
Weather:  Slightly overcast
People I saw:  Ryan, that guy in black again, two women, cows (the cows are starting to take on personalities to me)
Pain/injuries:  Slight hamstring, less than yesterday

Ryan and I tend to run a little bit in place, when we’re waiting for each other to arrive for a run.  I’ve started trotting the short jaunt to his house, only because it keeps me warm until it’s time to start our run.

It felt cooler than 25 degrees when we started, although I don’t have any mistrust for the thermometer that hangs on my back door window.  When we started, I noticed that we started off at a rather quick pace (for starting).  I think we were at an 0:8:15 for a couple of miles.  I felt good enough, though, to keep it up.

We talked about missing Barry for a moment, then we spent almost the duration of the time talking about running.  This is probably what annoys non-runners the most about us:  Sometimes, when we’re not talking you non-runners’ ears off about running, we’re talking to our runner friends, while running, about running.

Which brings up a good question:  For something so simple as running appears to be, why do many runners spend so much time talking about it?  Answer:  Because to some of us, running is not simple.  It is an amazing, wonderful thing, that continues to reward us for years, with health benefits and feelings that remind (some of us) of our youth.  But for me, the thing that I spend the most time obsessing about, is how I can become a better runner.  I wonder why I hurt one day, but not the next.  I wonder why I can work hard some days, with poor results, while other days a great run or race feels almost (almost) effortless.

Running is a complicated thing, for as simple as it appears to be.  It is the combined effort of brain, heart, blood, lungs, muscles, all working in concert.  Sometimes the results of this concert are a masterpiece; sometimes they come off as an elementary school band- out of sync, out of tune and downright dreadful.

Some days I feel out of breath.  Other days I feel like I’m so sore that that day’s effort is sure to result in supreme pain, later in the day.  Sometimes the weather cooperates and other days it’s a real struggle to just get out the door after you’ve seen that frigid thermometer reading from inside the comfort of your warm abode.

And this, I think, is what makes each run different:  The combination of weather, how you feel, traffic (or not), who you run with (or a solo run), how tired you feel through the run, trying out new clothing or gear, being chased by a dog, confronted by the kids who are waiting for a bus, how low the Provo River is, whether the lake has ice on it, etc.- these are the many combinations that give each run its own personality.  The same route can deliver a unique experience, many times over.

I dispute that the treadmill can do the same.

So yes, I may run the same route (for the most part) each day.  But no run is the same.  Each run is different and each run is (usually) worth it.  Even the bad ones.  I rarely get separated from my run by more than an hour before I start to really feel glad that I did it.  Sometimes I’ll sit on the train and see other runners on the Jordan River Trail, or anywhere, and immediately wish to be transported to that path, back in my running clothes, running along and experiencing whatever joy or struggle I see in that runner.

Maybe my dad is right.  Maybe I’m a little strange.

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