Thursday, July 15, 2010

Running Motivation From Supportive Community

Today was a hill day.

The hip was still hurting from yesterday’s track workout, so the 45 minute run to the hill started off at a very easy pace until I could loosen up the locked up hamstring and inner thigh muscles.

My usual route takes me down one particular street where my fans hang out. That is right, I have fans. And after a three-week absence, they were back today.

The first fans appeared right about the beginning of May when the temperatures started getting warm, about two weeks before the Cleveland Marathon.

On that day as I was starting my way on another 2 hour run, I passed by a nondescript house where two little girls, about 6 or 7 years old, came tearing out of their backyard screaming, “Look Mom. It’s the Runner!” I didn’t think much of it, so I said “hi” and ran onward.

As May wore on, Mom got in on the act. The kids would say, “Look Mom, It’s the Runner!” and Mom would say, “Yep. There he is. Hi Runner”.

Not wanting to be left out, Dad got involved: “Hey, you’re early today. We almost missed you.”

By mid-June, most of the surrounding neighbors had jumped in as well. One guy located about 10 houses away said, “Hey, we saw you running around Shaker Lakes yesterday. How far did you go?”

Then, the heat started picking up and everyone ran inside to escape into their air-conditioned homes. I thought to myself, “OK. Party’s over. I’m back to the loneliness of the long distance runner.”

So imagined my surprise today when I passed that nondescript house to see my two original fans on the front porch with their mom having a tea party. When they saw me approaching, they all broke out in an enthusiastic waving frenzy shouting “Hi Runner”.

When I run, I don’t carry an MP3 player, ear buds, iPod, camera, or cell phone. It’s just me, a stopwatch, and a bottle of water (sometimes I’ll even wear shoes). I don’t carry anything to keep my mind engaged. After an hour of running with an hour or more to go, I’m pretty much hypnotized, also known as ‘zoned out'. Bumping into a fellow runner is a welcomed blessing, even if all they say is, “Yo, looking strong!”

So imagine what it feels like after running over two hours in the heat, tired, worn out, zoned out, and hitting that last mile where an entire block of people are waving like fanatics and cheering you on.

Yeah, it feels like I’m finishing another marathon.

I’m thinking of breaking up my route into a double loop, just so I can run through this particular block twice and get a motivational boost in the middle of my run, not just at the beginning or the end.

What do you do for motivation? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Hill run today. 40 hill repeats for an hour. Total exposure time 2.5 hours - actually yesterday now that I’m posting this.

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