I did basically no academic work this weekend. Normally, this would leave me both panicky and feeling like somewhat of a failure.
Not this time.
This time, I felt on top of the world. That’s because this past Sunday I ran the Around the Bay 30k race in Hamilton on its 120th anniversary – my longest race since the Vancouver Marathon last May. After a long, icy, dreary winter it was an unexpectedly perfect day. Sunny, light breeze, a comfortable 5-8 degrees throughout: the first truly good running conditions we’ve had in months. I can’t help but think how reflective that is of what my experience of running has been these last five years.
See, I began running about five years ago essentially as an act of desperation. I was unhealthy, unfit, and exhausted by it. I was angry at myself for becoming that way, I was frustrated at the constant barriers it imposed on me, and I hated myself more than a little.
Similarly, I viewed this coming weekend with a kind of dread. I haven’t been training as much as I had hoped and I was frustrated at myself for letting that happen. I doubted whether the run would be in any way pleasant. I had full-on winter fatigue, to the point that looking out my window in the morning to find out it would be another gray, cold, windy day was enough to bring me to tears. Frankly, the thought of more winters to come in this part of the world made me want to scream.
Gone. All of that is gone. It melted away before the race even began.
The excitement and anticipation began when I received my race number. It built up even more at the hotel when I laid out my race gear, double and triple checking I had everything I would need. This step in particular always causes me to laugh because I used to think running was an exceedingly simple process – all you needed was shoes and the outdoors. Not so with long-distance running, especially with winter still clinging to the world!
Then I watched Spirit of the Marathon, which became one of my favourite movies when I watched it with my marathon training group before our race last May, and then I did my best to get some sleep.
What can I say about the race itself? It was beautiful. It was challenging. By the end it was painful. But I never doubted for a moment I would make it to the finish, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I still can’t.
Contrary to five years ago, I am healthy, fit, and constantly discovering new limits that I can break through. I am more than a little proud of how far I have come.
Contrary to a few days ago I am pleased that I was able to train enough to do this, despite my workload. I remember the quiet pride of overcoming the winter and training through the worst of it in January and February. This morning, the view outside my window promises another bright and gorgeous spring day, just like yesterday and the day before.
For those of my classmates who always ask disbelievingly how I find time to run during law school: a better question is how could I go through law school if I didn’t run? I could have stayed home this weekend, locked in away with my casebooks and notes as I have been for weeks now and will be in days to come, what with exams around the corner. But I can guarantee that I’d be far more miserable and far less confident in my ability to get through those exams than I am right now.