Were you to ask any group of runners the main reason why they run I’ll bet most would say they do it because they just love running. Fair enough, there is much to be said for the experience. Among other things, there is the changing landscape, fresh air and the feeling that you are doing something challenging that also benefits your health. So what’s not to love?
As I padded downstairs at 4:01 AM this morning to get my pre-run coffee it occurred to me that there are things about running that are not so easy to love. Like waking up every day at 4:00 and running by 4:10. Like enduring freezing cold winds, muscle pulls or hot humid conditions in the name of reaching your distance goals. I think most runners are okay with the idea of suffering. Somehow it plays into the love thing but I’m not a psychologist so I can’t defend that theory. I’m discovering that my main source of suffering, fatigue, has begun to give way to a more insidious issue: tedium.
Running on the treadmill this morning yielded two emotional responses. The first was “Wow, this feels great, I wish I could run for another half hour.” The second response came near the end of my allotted run time “OMG, I can’t run in place while I stare at the furniture in the room for another minute.” It’s not just the treadmill either. This weekend, as I ran through my neighborhood without any fatigue and conditioning issues to distract me, I began to wish for something new to look at besides cars and houses.
This may be a reason why I’m thinking so much lately about trail running. It would be great to look at a changing landscape that actually is a landscape. I wonder if anyone sells systems that simulate outdoor running by projecting trails on the wall that move at the pace that you run. That may be overkill. I also keep thinking about spring when I can do my early weekday runs outdoors, providing there’s enough light to see and be seen. That would be better than staring at a cabinet.