The secret to running is this: Sometimes you don’t.
Today I didn’t go for the usual four-miler. I didn’t go for a long run. Or a short one. Or the treadmill or the track. Or the neighborhood loop or the trail along the bay.
I did no fartleks, no splashing or trashing or hashing. I did not tweet Lolo Jones to challenge her to a race. I did not curse Mr. Yasso while enduring the eighth 800. No mile repeats, since there was no first mile to repeat in the first place. Or the second. Or third. No striders. Thirty years later, I’m still not sure exactly what a strider is.
I didn’t pull on my shoes, always right shoe first, then left, then tie right, then tie left. I didn’t sniff my shorts till I finally found one that doesn’t create the same reaction as when you inhale deeply after mixing bleach and ammonia. I didn’t rummage through the shirt drawer, strolling through memory lane while looking for something to dredge up the mojo. No need for the pre-run Ironbeer. Not that I ever drink a pre-run Ironbeer. But Cola! Orange! Cuban Craziness! I bet if I had an Ironbeer right now I’d be running by the bottom of the can.
I didn’t stretch or sweat or worry about whether no constitutional before the run meant there would be one during it. I didn’t need my hat or my Road ID or my Jedi mind games. I didn’t worry about hydrating or hurling or humus. Life is too short to worry about humus. Specifically, life is about 5 foot 10, unless you’re wearing Hokas, in which case life is 6 foot 3.
CNN doesn’t seem to care that I didn’t run. They haven’t ratted me out yet. SpongeBob is giving me the Stinkeye, but likely it’s for something else, like my deepset belief that Barnacle is not an acceptable profanity. I’m just sitting here hoping to recover from yesterday’s work ordeal in time to repeat it again tonight. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Tell that to the deadline.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back in the routine. A new day, a new course, a new outlook. Tomorrow, I will run.
Today, I didn’t. But please don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.
The secret to running.