Into the Darkness

January running stats – 1948 minutes, 37 runs, 2 rest days, mileage 243-278(estimated). May 20th, Pocono Marathon, I’ll be ready.

These thoughts drifted through my head recently as I went on yet another run on another day.  I sped up.

The alarm rings.  You’re already awake.  Your brain says to get up, but your feet don’t move.  The blankets are warm.  The wind howls through the branches.  You hear the drip of raindrops on the window.  Your beautiful wife lies next to you.

Your feet hit the floor.

The choice was not made this morning, if it was you’d always sleep in.  No, the choice was made weeks, months, years ago.  You will run.  You begin to dress.  The warm bed calls.

Your mind wonders.

Are your rivals awake?

Surely some have hit snooze.  Rest is important.  You hesitate.

Those that sleep in, that miss workouts, the fair weather runners, they are no longer your rivals.  You have long since left them behind.  They no longer threaten you, they don’t challenge you.  They dream of being you, but they aren’t you because they are asleep on their pillow.

Yes, your rivals are awake, tying shoes, pulling on gloves, searching for hats, some are out there already.  Dedicated, committed, faster then you.

You slip on your shoes.  They are wet; rain, snow, sweat, mud, everyday you are out there.  The weight of past workouts and the knowledge of what’s to come allows doubts to creep back in.  You hesitate.  Really another run?  Isn’t this supposed to be fun?

The tired legs, early alarms, searching for the right clothing, is this fun?

Fun is for joggers, cool downs, and post race camaraderie.  Fun is for dreamers, and dreamers are asleep on their pillow.  You are awake.  You want more then a dream.

You want your dreams to be your reality.  You train to be faster.  Faster is fun.  You dream of being faster.  Getting out there and putting one foot in front of another is fun.  Your heart rate perks up just a bit, you want to be faster.  You need to be faster.

Now its becoming clear, now you are understanding.  You shake off the cobwebs, your eyes are wide with anticipation.  You are awake to train.  Training makes you faster.  Faster is fun!

You train in pursuit of your limits.  You train to discover your capabilities.  Many dreamers have thought it would be fun to pursue their limits, then it got hard, monotonous, tiring.  They are asleep on their pillow.

For a moment, you envy them, the dreamers, and their ability to be satisfied, content, at peace.

But that’s not you, you want more, demand more, you’re never satisfied, always looking to be better, stronger, faster.  Your dreams will be your reality.

So what’s it like to pursue your limits?  Some might say, challenging, grueling, exhausting; you say its worth it.

Asking yourself to pursue your limits is a dangerous question to ask.  What if your limits aren’t enough, what if you are a step too slow, you miss workouts, you eat another cookie?

What if You fail?

But failure is not for you.  Failure is not an option, not in the cards, not today. You’re limits are fragile, breakable, impermanent.  You know that your limits are merely a reflection of your current fitness and not a predictor of your future success.  Your commitment, your effort, your dedication predicts your future.  What you can do today is no guarantee of what you can do tomorrow.

You will be faster tomorrow.

Today, like all days, you pursue your limits.  You are not afraid of what you may find, you’re hungry for it.  You push through, gaining another step, another second, you will be faster, you will run longer.

You are ready.  Another day, another run.  You rise, you step out…

Into the darkness…

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