Today I ran an impossibly difficult 15km. An impossibly difficult 15km. Who would have thought? I’d always considered myself a runner (not a jogger, mind you), and one who was as serious about running as recreational runners got.
15km? It’s a short distance. 21km is a middle-distance run, and 42km and above is long-distance. Unfortunately, by my present falling standards, these distance categories may not hold for long — 15km does seem awfully far…
I think I had better either start changing my perception of my running abilities or start increasing my running abilities to match my perception.
As I ran, I recalled the earlier days in my running life when 15km was a weekly affair, and not, as it happens to be now, a yearly one. Running has just slid in to the background of my life in recent months, holding an increasingly less important role. I think I had forgotten what value running provided me, but today I was fully reminded of it.
Today’s run, as difficult as it was, provided me plenty of moments filled with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow — that state of mind where you feel a suspension of time and space, where you’re so into the moment the world disappears and you’re concentrating fully on the task at hand.
Though holding a relatively slow pace throughout, whenever Sean and I approached the water points we would increase our speed, zooming toward our cups of 100-Plus and water. These bursts of speed allowed me to partake in the exhilaration of overtaking our running peers, even if only for a while. Every time we did this, it was as if some Godly force was calling out to me, telling me that I had to reconsider running’s role in my life. Do not let go of it, I thought I heard it say.
By the end of the race, I found myself realising that this was the beginning of a beautiful renewed relationship with running. By the time my next race comes up, be it the Wave Run or the Army Half-Marathon, 15km will be, once more, a short run for me.
Enough of that. Please excuse me now. I have pavement to pound.