1. Running seems impossible until I do it.
When I say I like to run, I get looks of confusion. It's not believable. But I like to run. I like running five or six miles (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) by myself or with friends. Last night, lying in bed, I wanted almost nothing more than to go run. I slept instead but can't wait to run after school today.
Running seems impossible until I do it. Then it's not just possible but is the thing I want to do. When I run regularly, it's almost easy. If I haven't run in a while, the idea feels like too much, but once I get out there everything comes back.
2. Distance seems impossible until I do it.
I don't know that I've ever felt I couldn't eventually go a distance. I might not be up for a half marathon right now (though maybe), but I've always felt I could get to whatever distance I want. There was a time when five miles felt like too much. Now, five to six miles feels just right. The change came when I did the distance.
Distance only seems impossible. A few years ago I wanted to run a 50K. I started running longer but didn't train well. I'm terrible about obligations. Still, I felt great for sixteen miles, had trouble the next ten, but got through the last five with help from a friend. 31 miles was impossible until I did it.
3. If all I read was Runner's World, I do marathons.
When I started running, I subscribed to Runners World. Back then, the editors had the marathon on a pedestal. I had the feeling that I had to run a marathon to be a real runner, but I've never wanted to run one.
At first the distance kept me away. Then I found I could easily do the half marathon. Still, I wasn't much interested. There were too many strict training plans filled with obligations. I wasn't into it. I started reading other things.
4. Reading Born To Run, I just want to go long and longer.
I'm reading Christopher McDougall's Born To Run (again) and just want to go, go, and go. Running is absolutely natural. We were literally born to run. Going long is natural too. It's just that we have been talked out of it. And the marathon isn't even some magical distance. The shortest ultra is the 50K, five miles longer than the marathon.
This afternoon's weather might be nice or might rain. It doesn't matter. I'm wearing running sandals already and will change into shorts and a shirt once I'm home. Then I'm off. I don't look like a natural born runner, but we all are. Getting out on the roads and trails isn't some obligation. I want it. How long will I go today? I don't know.
5. The proof is in the pudding, er, running.
After I wrote this, I went out for a hard five miles. I was tired. My heart rate was up. I kept going. Runs tend to work out. But things didn't work until mile 4.3 of five. So it goes.
Did this run disproved everything above? Probably not. I feel good now. There are two types of fun. Type One feels great in the moment. Type Two feels good later. Today's run was Type Two but still fun.
And here's the thing: I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's run.