Recently I was in a group setting in which I was required to stand up, give my name, spouse's name, children's name, occupation and hobbies (no, it was not for RAA.. Runner Addict Anonymous). When I got to my hobbies, I automatically spit out "Running. If I could do anything at all with a boat load of free time, I would run." I realize to non-runners, that sounds like insanity at it's peak. If you are not a runner, you will never get it. If you are a runner, it makes perfect sense.
What I neglected to also say is that I love to write and I love to read. There isn't just one topic or type of reading I like to do either. Sure I love reading about running, but I also love reading about all kinds of other things. As a matter of fact, a bad habit of mine is that I assume that everyone else likes to read too. And I'm certain they like to read what I am currently fascinated with. So I send links. Lots of links to articles that I think others will like. The truth is, not everyone likes to read what I like to read. And even less do they like receiving links. Links suck.
I currently keep this blog that I started over a year ago to journal about this dream of mine... a goal I set for myself over three years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long, but it has. And I imagine often that when I reach it, I will go back and re-read this entire blog from start to finish and I will create a work of art intended for publication. Yes, my friends, a big dream of mine is to write a book. I imagine the title: "Holy SH*T, I've made it to Boston!" That would be awesome, but I don't think it would fly. So I'd have to come up with something else. It would have to be catchy though. I mean, who would buy a book about an average runner who ran a bunch of marathons and finally qualified? That just described a great big chunk of runners that make up the Boston Marathon field. And what if I don't qualify? Well that doesn't change the fact that I still love to write and I'd still love to write a book. That book could quite possibly be titled: "How I managed to beat my brother by a LOT in the Western States 100 ultramarathon." I can already read the forward by my good buddy, Brad Paisley (who doesn't know we are good buddies). He would talk about how there is a link between my running and his guitar playing. It really would/will be a great read.
So in other words, depending on the type of link in which we are referencing, they don't all suck.
There is a link between runners. A link that creates a pretty spectacular bond. Today was track day. Normally I don't shy away from track work, but today I just plain didn't want to do it. I could have easily talked myself out of going, but Sarah was meeting me. I figured she was itching to get in a good dose of speed considering we both have had a pretty off couple of weeks in regard to training. So I thought, "Just get it over with. It's only 6 x 800 meter repeats. Or rather it's only 1 x 800 meter repeat... done 5 more times. Yeah, that's much better. Just one." I also knew Jen would be at the track. I hadn't seen or heard from Jen in a while and was looking forward to a bit of catching up (unfortunately she was close to finishing when we arrived and got started). As I pulled into the parking lot of Lucy's school, I received a text from Sarah "What's the plan for today. Need to wrap my head around it, just not feeling the love from my bod". Oh crap. She is supposed to get me pumped up for this. If we both aren't feeling it, we could soooo bail on this. So I responded that I wasn't feeling it either, gave her the plan of 6 x 800s with a warm up and cool down and then said, "We can do this." Something about typing that made it believable. I knew I needed a little more motivation still. And I knew the only way to produce more motivation in my lazy state was by expressing gratitude. I began to speak out loud in my car "Thank you for the sunshine on this first day of March. Thank you for this friend I can run with. Thank you for the fact that nothing hurts or no injury lingers. Thank you for my health. Thank you for the gift of your life (in the spirit of the Lenten season, it is imperative we remember that gift)." As these words of gratitude echoed in my voice and in my ears, I could feel the motivation seep into my body. I arrived at the track and Sarah and I walked to the start. We mumbled our usual "OH. SO. TIRED...." bit, started our watches and began our warm up. The warm up ended and it was time to get down to business. Lap after lap clicked by and with the help of a brief recovery in between 800s, we seemed to get stronger, our times holding steady and sometimes even lower than anticipated. Before I knew it, we were on our 6th and final 800. The time went so fast. As I rounded the turn of wind pushing my chest, the sun shining brilliantly on the track and into the straight away for our final 200 meters, I said, once again, some words of gratitude in my head,
"Thank you for showing me the link between Heaven and Earth."