I stumbled impulsively upon the idea of focusing on 11 races throughout 2011. It sounded good, especially considering there are more than 11 reasons I love running. This blog is my platform to gather and record running experiences throughout the year, and form a structure from what will undoubtably be a tangled web of thoughts and reflections. It is also going to be the discipline which enforces me to actually do the races!
Rationale to Run:
I think its a good value to live by to make the best of yourself. I don't mean aesthetically but by building positive qualities and characteristics, such as mental strength, energy and alertness. I find running can nurture these qualities, and bring life into sharp focus. At its best it can bring a sense of elation and enthusiasm for learning new things, that can infiltrate other areas of life. Adapting to being able to run distance can become transferable to other aspects of daily life, for instance, simply being able to just get on with it in the face of unforeseen stumbling blocks. And the sense of physical achievement on completing a challenging race can be unrivalled.
I've also never much been one for staying put on a beach, certainly not without getting so attention-deficit that I'm a nightmare to be around. The diversity of runnning events worldwide is amazing. From running through French chateaus guzzling wine to crossing three European borders in one race, to running in the sun, at midnight, in Norway. What a way to see the world.
Despite my feelings on this, my enthusiasm does peak and trough, and the winter of 2010/11 was a testing one. A complexity of obstacles contributed - arctic conditions, torn ligaments and a few abrupt changes elsewhere in life that came from the blue. I haven't felt the same strong motivation for several months to train or race as I did last year. This is not evident on the outside as I still force myself to go through the motions out of bloody-mindedness.
Still, earlier on in the year I decided to run 11 races and whether I enjoy them or not it is an experiment in discipline, determination and self-improvement that is one tiny fraction of the challenges many amazingly admirable runners and ultra runners put themselves forward for.
4am in a freezing park in Sausalito, Marin County, 12 hours after stepping off a plane in San Francisco, two days after running a work event...
Trudging up a steep trail of mud and slick rock, head bowed against driving rain and hemmed in between male runners continually surging ...
"Running is how I renew my soul. I come back a new woman, a better mother, a better wife and a better friend. It gives me confidence, ...