Every morning my commute takes me up Lake Shore Drive from Hyde Park to McCormick Place—47th Street to the I-55 Stevenson Ramp. Except in really severe weather, there are almost always runners on the lake path—a lot of them this morning. The mild winter, perhaps, has a lot of people running.
I feel differently toward the runners on the lake path—connected somehow—when I am running like I am now. I’ve been running on this stretch of the path for 20 years. But some of those years I’ve been a runner, and sometimes I am not.
On January 1, as I’ve blogged before, I joined a Facebook group and pledged to run at least a mile every day. Today was day 46 in my 2012 running streak; never having been a big streak runner, it is possibly the longest running streak of my life.
I suppose there is nothing special about day 46, except that when I looked at the runners on the lake path this morning, I looked at them as a runner.
My pace and mileage have been modest—about 21 miles a week, three miles a day; I’m running 8:30 miles. Sometimes all I get in is a one-mile warm up run with my track team boys; lately I do that run and then sneak in another mile while they stretch together before the workout begins. Sometimes I stop on the lake and run again for a few miles on my way home at 5:15 or so after practice. Weekends give me some time to run a little more, although on Saturday just past I left home at 6:30 am to go to a track meet and I returned home at 6:00 pm—not leaving much time that day to run. I did a couple miles before dinner. But then, on Sunday, I ran seven miles in the Three Oaks countryside.
Other key information: I’ve lost about 15 pounds since my high point/low point of 175 over Christmas break. The exercise is part of it. I’m also going low carbs, eating a lot of meat and eggs. I worry about the cholesterol loading, but eventually, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be running more and off the diet.
The last thing that fits into my current running revival: A few weeks ago I read the book In the Long Run by Jim Axelrod, which my wife Peggy gave me for Christmas. I’ve been planning a blog post and review on the book. I liked it. But for this post what is important is that I felt a little bit snobby about the book at first. It is the story of a guy who runs a 4 hour and 30 minute marathon, and he makes a big deal about it. But there is more to it than that. And I could relate to Axelrod’s travails as he struggles through injuries, work pressures, and family troubles to get in shape to run his New York City marathon, in part as a way to re-connect with his dead father. My running goals and obstacles are not nearly as dramatic. But Axelrod begins with inflated goals for his running; he initially thinks he is going to beat his father’s pretty good New York City marathon time of around 3:30 at the age of 43. He fitfully gears down–and literally slows down his fast track life and overzealous training pace–as he realizes that what he really wants to do is run for the sake of running and just finish the marathon.
All I want to do is be a runner and even a 20-mile a week runner is a runner—especially if he runs every day.