It’s been over seven weeks since Steamtown. I’m no longer on a cross country or track team. I don’t have a specific race that I’m training for. For the first time in over a decade, I really have to ask myself, “what am I running for?” I find myself running almost out of habit. Because the day would seem empty without it. Running has become part of my very identity and not lacing up the shoes and heading out for a few miles just seems wrong.
Honestly, there are certainly elements of an addiction to it. If I go a few days without running, I feel restless, almost like it’s a withdrawal. And then getting out there again, on the open trail…it’s a shot of adrenaline that makes it all better. I’ll admit that could potentially be a problem when you’re injured and running as opposed to resting will only aggravate your injury, but otherwise…I’m addicted to running, and I gotta say, there sure are worse vices out there.
For the time being, I don’t really have a goal. I’m not doing Boston in the spring and next year’s Steamtown is still more than ten months away. So for the first time in my life, I am going to run for the pure joy of it. No team. No goal. I’m just going to run. Go what pace I want, go where I want and go at whatever time of day I can. After so long of specifically going after exact goals, trying to precise mileage or times, I think this more relaxed approach will allow me to examine and experience why I truly love running in the first place. So I’m just gonna do what I do best, and that’s run, baby.