An enjoyable 18km run in the pouring rain on Christmas day brought my mileage for this past week to 80km. Initially I'd planned on doing a 24km for my long run this week but changed my mind when I headed out shortly before 11am.
That 18km, at about 5:00/km, turned out to be the perfect choice. Time flew by, as I was in a relaxed frame of mind and my body felt good. My legs propelled me along in a comfortable rhythm that never felt strained.
As I've been getting ready to start my Vancouver Marathon preparations in earnest on January 2nd with a week of 104km, I've had to shake off the shivers of doubt coming and going in the past few weeks as to whether I'd be ready in time.
Yesterday's run made me feel confident that I will be.
Aside from cars driving back and forth to, I imagine, various Christmas day gatherings, it was quiet. I crossed paths with one other runner, a woman heading in the opposite direction. We exchanged a smile and a Merry-Christmas greeting.
At least a dozen eagles watched me run along the 500-metre stretch close to where Highway 99 crosses the Mamquam River. A lonely, yet stately stork hung out in the same area, too.
My thoughts ebbed and flowed. Aside from a sudden confidence about my ability to tackle the training ahead, I remember one other major thought: What if Jesus had been a runner?
Would those who pray do so on the run, instead of folding hands and bowing heads?
Would Christmas include hordes of people running, instead of churches bursting at their seams with the folk that only attend once a year?
Would the Catholics confess to their sins during a speed session, or perhaps a long one, purging as they'd run to exhaustion, redemption and salvation?
Running as religion is something I would not necessarily denounce as I believe running forces each runner to look within herself for honesty, and truth. We may not always be ready to see it, or admit that we do, but we get the occasional glimpse, a deep if only short-lived sense, of what it might mean if we would truly believe, with absolute faith, in the best of ourselves.
As runners we often focus on our shortcomings and overcoming them as we aim to get faster, better. We'll need to achieve such and such and do this and that before we expect to have faith in our ability, our being 'good enough'.
But sometimes, on some runs, we don't need anything beyond the current moment, only the here and now, to feel with our entire being that we have let go of judgment and that being all that we are in the present is all that we can and care to be right now.