Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Goal in Sight

If you peruse my archives, under the label "fitness", you'll see I started running in June of 2008. In February of that year I'd hit 220 lbs, on my way back toward my lifetime high of 250 lbs -- and I knew things had to change. I started eating differently, and that helped a lot. But in June of 2008 when I started running, something new happened. I started to change not only on the outside, but also on the inside. What started out as an exercise in self-denial and discipline led to an inexpressible joy as I began "running into my self".

I have a history of starting projects, especially related to fitness or weight loss, with goals either too lofty, too short-term, or both. I was the guy who would (try to) do 50 pushups and 100 sit-ups on January 1st, then (try to) do 25 pushups and 50 sit-ups on January 2nd, then skip January 3rd, and feel guilty, so I'd try to do 10 pushups and 20 sit-ups on January 4th, then stop trying.

But in mid- late-2008 as I was finding a rhythm of running, something changed. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't and instead found joy in who I was. Only then did I find joy in who I was becoming -- allowing the process to shape me, and allowing myself to see where it pointed. Only then did I set my sights on a lofty goal: to run the 2010 Portland Marathon on 10-10-10.

Since then I've averaged 2-3 days per week of running, almost exclusively before sunrise. Most of that running has been alone, which is my preference -- except for a few great runs with some friends which I look forward to continuing in the future. I've run 2 5k (3 1/8mi) races, an 8k (5 mi), a 10k (6.2 mi), and 2 half-marathons (13.1 mi). I have a 10k scheduled in late June and am stoked for that one. But not as stoked as I am to run the Portland Marathon later this year.

Today is Thursday May 20, 2010. I weigh 173 lbs, and just got back from an exhilarating run in the rain from 5:15-6:30am. Today was my last run before my marathon training program begins on Monday May 24, 2010. I'll be running 4-5 days per week, and cycling 2 days per week for cross-training. I'll be losing body fat and leaning up for the race in October.

My goal is in sight. My plans are set. My heart, mind, body and spirit are all in unison. I've got a new pair of shoes to wear, and will be blogging my progress here weekly. Not just the stats but my emotions, both high and low. I hope you'll join me.

Not long after I started running, my friend (and very experienced runner) Tom sent me a Nike postcard with the sentiment that has been something of a mantra for me:
Not because you are in a hurry,
or because you are being chased.
Just run.
Last night I read a poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley that literally moved me to tears because I so identified with it. I marvel at the person I've become, and truly enjoy the process of discovery as I am still becoming.
Song of the Ungirt Runners

We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
'Neath the big bare sky.

The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.
I am a runner. I'm girt, thankfully. =O)

...but oh the joy I feel when I run.
~ Keith

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