A 4am alarm weekday mornings is a strange thing that you never really get used to. I am told Buddist and Christian monks keep hours similar to mine in morning radio, but I am no monk, so a week of 'real' wakeup times (read: 7am or 8am) is a treat. This has been one of those weeks. I've been on a 'staycation', using up last year's vacation time, which had been saved up in the hope of a trip to Australia. Unattainable this year, but perhaps not next year, or maybe the year after.
I have spent a great deal of this week running, preparing to run, thinking about the run I'm about to make and making plans with my running partners for when and where we will meet up in advance of the race.
In January, two girlfriends and I signed up for this Sunday's race down Yonge Street courtesy of the folks at Sporting Life. We're not planning to set any records. We're in the group that aspires to complete the 10k in 60-75 minutes. I'm finishing my training runs (water tower to the Batteau sideroad and back) in 1:09, so I figure at least I won't be the Very Final person to cross the line at Fort York Sunday morning.
As far as I'm concerned, the race is already won, because it forced me back onto the trails. I ran a shorter race in the fall of 2011 for various reasons, one of which was to lose some of the pounds I packed on in the first few years of marriage. Just a few extra snacks on the couch each evening really adds up. Starting last fall, some of that weight crept back, and I figured another race might be in order. While the number on the scale each morning hasn't moved since the start of this year, I'm certain there have been other benefits. I feel stronger and somehow more... useful.
Wish us luck elbowing our way through the 27,000 people who are planning to run in the chilly weather expected on Sunday in Toronto. Each of us will have our own reason for being there. Some, like me, are doing it to stay in our smaller pants. Some are raising money, others are on a journey I may never understand. I'm not going to offer any deep thoughts about distance running, marathoning, the bombings in Boston or crazy people in general; so much has been said so much more eloquently than I could ever devise.
But I will say this: running changes more than the shape of legs and shoulders and the readout on the scale. Two years into my journey in fitness, I now measure my days by which ones I Get to run, not by which ones I Have to run.