Here's the thing: I can run four miles. It's not tough on me either. This month I've run all of eight miles. The first four were last week with the friend who asked me to run the Shamrock Run with him. We ran the course to get a feel for it again. It has been years since I've run that race. The second four were today at the event after I told him to go ahead and run his own race. I'll meet you at the end. At the gun we weaved in and out of the crowd for half a mile until he went ahead and I settled in.
As usual, I told myself to run your own race. I'm not that interested in the clock, don't have anyone to beat, can't remember my best time on the course and can't be bothered to look it up. What's the point? Instead, I went with how I felt and pushed a little. Not a lot. I ran pretty well.
The Shamrock Run winds over Syracuse's Tipperary Hill, home to the famous upside down traffic light. (You can look it up.) Tipp Hill is, well, hilly and the third mile ends with a slow incline that then turns into a tough climb. As I ran up the incline, two women behind me talked about how they'd heard about this hill and it was killing them. We got to the top of the incline, turned right and the real hill came into view. "Aw shit," one woman said. "I'm going to die now." I smiled facing away from their misery.
I've come to like running hills and tell myself to take what the hill has to give and give the hill what I can. Pithy it ain't, but it's a good reminder on climbs. I went up the hill happily. And Slowly. I'm okay with that. I felt good and strong.
I can run four miles without trouble or training. That's something with which I've been gifted. I'm out of shape, twenty pounds heavy, but had no question that I could run the race well. I'm grateful for that. As Jane Kenyon said, it could have been otherwise.
It makes me wonder what I might be able to do if I really pushed myself. I should find out. But I doubt it would have much to do with running.