I start every day the same way.
My phone rings at 4:45am.
The gear laid out the night before is put on in a sleepy fog.
Shirt, running tights and shoes ready to be worn, ready to tackle the miles.
My treadmill and I do our dance for the next 45 minutes.
Some days I have a fire in my belly and I push myself harder and harder until a little one emerges at my side asking for chocolate milk or a TV show turned on.
Other days I hate the machine. I pound out the miles cursing it and myself until I am exhausted, drinking my propel water and lounging on the couch wondering why I wake up at such an ungodly hour.
Through the good and bad mornings, the one constant, running is my meditation. Without it I know I could not have managed these months.
When people ask me how I can stay sane, how I can move through these days with a smile on my face I tell them it’s because of four things:
1. my faith
2. my girls
3. the support of my family and girlfriends
4. my running
One thing running has never been for me is a competition.
I run for myself.
I run for the clarity.
I run for the solace.
I run for the quieting of my head and my heart.
With that in mind I decided this year to challenge myself.
I detest races.
Races of all kinds- family fun runs, 5K’s, half marathons. I hate them. Hate the people on top of people, the noise, the claustrophobia of it all.
So this year I will run a race a month.
One race, every month in a different city.
I started the year last week with a 5k -The Frigid Fantastic. It was a frigid 14 degrees at race time.
I don’t think I have ever run in weather that cold before, but myself and a 100 others did it.
When I finished I felt such a sense of accomplishment not because of the numbers on the clock but because even though it was colder than humanely acceptable, even though I had to miss Sid’s basketball game, and even though I almost fell a million times in the snow and ice, I still felt comfort. My heart was calmer and my head was clearer.
So I will run into 2014. There will be a half marathon in Rochester, a 5k in Chicago, a 10k on Kelley’s Island, a Tough Mudder in upstate New York, and the Flying Pig in Cincinnati among the others.
If you happen to be up in the early morning hours feeding a baby, taking care of a sick child or on your way into work, think about me pounding out the miles on my treadmill and say a prayer. It’s silly really I know, but if you wouldn’t mind simply put a good word in for me.
And if your up for a visitor or a running partner and you know of a decent race in your area shoot me a note and you may just end up with a house guest.