Today I have taken a days' leave from work and early this morning I went for a run; my regular 7.5 mile hilly run.
I didn't "need" to run in terms of training for the marathon on Monday. No amount of training now will improve my performance or endurance in the race, although perhaps a couple of easy runs will help keep me supple.
No, this run was simply about enjoying going for a run. No Mr Endomondo tracking my performance and I didn't even bother to time myself. This was a run to enjoy and on a morning that was perfect.
This reminds me of why it is important for keen runners and cyclists (myself included here) to keep things in perspective. It is all too easy to get caught up in going further, faster with better kit, flashier technology. This applies to runners and, I believe, even more so with cyclists. Each day I am bombarded with emails from the likes of Wiggle, Evans etc urging me to consider buying this or that piece of kit or clothing. It is so easy to get drawn into this with the belief that the more money I spend on my sport, the better I will be. That is simply not true. I could suggest that if anyone becomes preoccupied with having the latest gizmo, they have lost the basic enjoyment or raison d'être of why then became a runner or a cyclist. Worth thinking about?
Let me tell you about this morning's run
I left home at 5.45am while it was still very quiet outside, hardly any cars on the roads. I ran through the town and up a hill which had stunning views today. The sky was clear, not a cloud anywhere. The temperature was nice and cool, just right and I even came across a cold dip where there was still a little frost. The air was crisp, clean and still. Perfect.
It was an easy run. I didn't push myself at all other than one 10 metre sprint for the fun of hit at the half way point. I could feel my heart beating nicely and my lungs were panting as I ran up a couple of hills. Back home I did a few stretches before I went inside.
I feel so blessed and grateful for the run. I appreciate the surroundings, the weather at this time of year, the peace and stability we have in the UK. I cannot underestimate the benefits I gain from runs like this - keeping me in good health, both physically and mentally. There is something about the simplicity of running that I like - it's just me, a pair of running shoes and the road in front of me. That's it. No punctures, no mechanical issues: just me, the road in front and nothing else. Perfect.
These are brilliant reminders of why I run and why it's important to me. Without running (or cycling) I think I would be a complete stressed out and overweight wreck. As much as I am looking forward to the marathon on Monday, and I hope to do okay, the outcome doesn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things. Even if something goes wrong and I don't complete, while I would be very disappointed, it doesn't matter. The important thing is to enjoy simply being a runner who loves running.