I’ve been dealing with a bit of a motivation problem lately. I blame it on the weather – it was 3 degrees when I woke up this morning (supposed to be -11 tonight), the daily highs are near 20 degrees below historical average, and there’s near two feet of frozen ice/snow on the ground. But this is one of the beautiful things about running – one of those universal truths – that every runner, no matter ability, age, or dedication has or will suffer from at some point.
I took the last few days easy with low mileage and set out today to try and bust up my motivation issue. I set out for an easy 10 miler that runs with the Vermont 100 course for 1.5 miles. It’s not an easy stretch – around 500 feet of elevation gain – and while I wasn’t battling this hills like I will in July when it comes 90 miles into a race, I was throwing myself at the hills with some panache. It’s a common occurrence for this loop that I justify by labeling it as a watered down hill workout.
They say to really run well, you’re supposed to empty your mind, run without thinking. I can’t do it. I’m always wandering and day dreaming, sometimes seriously, others more fancifully. Today, I was thinking again, but they weren’t new thoughts, at least not when I was huffing and struggling up the hills. It is without fail that every time I throw myself at this hill I think of all the other feet that have plodded forward before me. It’s not a unique thought, or one that is even particularly entertaining. Lots of people run down common roads, or drive the same direction, hell, my house was built in the 1840s, people have probably died here.
But when I run up this stretch, it focuses me. It reminds me of one of my goals. I feel important, special. While countless runners – from pro-athletes to the eternal DFL’ers – come at the end of July to run up this hill, I can do it any day I want, alone. At the same time, we have shared something. We haven’t shared a meal, or a drink, or even some life altering event, but we’ve shared a few of our struggles and a bit of our humanness.