I’ve been reading Ryan Hall‘s book called “Running With Joy” about finding the simple joy in running. I never understood it the entire time I was marathon training. I’m a perfectionist, and every run I went on, I was stressing out about the marathon. My times were always pushing the limit on how slow I could be and still finish on time. It was a constant battle the entire 10 months: would I finish? would I get faster?
Granted, I had some really good training runs where I felt great afterward and rocked an awesome runner’s high, but the question of finishing and being good enough were always at the back of my mind. I never quite fully enjoyed my runs with the pressure I had put on myself.
This past Sunday I went for a run. Not because I had to follow a schedule, but because I wanted some exercise and needed to clear my head after a stressful week. It was crisp and cool, but the sun was out so it was a nice day. I planned to do 6 – 8 miles depending on time and my energy levels. I hadn’t done a long run since the marathon, and I had just gotten new shoes last week.
I set off on the trail, which was fairly deserted. It was a beautiful fall morning. I had my iPod on, but otherwise just enjoyed the scenery. Squirrels and rabbits were out scurrying around trying to bulk up for winter. It was a lovely day. I ended up doing 6 miles. Before when I ran, I obsessively checked my Garmin for my pace, distance, time, etc to see if I was at all on track. I only checked my watch once on this run when I felt like turning around to make sure I had gone out 3 miles.
Otherwise, I didn’t have a clue the entire time what my pace was nor did I care. It was honestly one of the best runs I’ve ever been on. There was no more pressure, no need to accomplish anything. I was simply there to enjoy my run and get some exercise in. When I finished, I was really happy. It had taken me 1:29:50, but I didn’t care anymore. I just had enjoyed a beautiful 6 mile run on a great fall day. What was there to be upset about? I’ve already conquered the marathon. Now I can just sit back, relax and enjoy running with joy.