I Wish I Could Bottle This Feeling and Give it Away
By: Brad Deel
I remember when I first started running in March, 2008. It sucked. And it didn't suck a little bit; it sucked a lot. Within the first few hundred yards, I'd be struggling. My knees would protest and if I could get them to shut up, my ankles would hate me and just when they were pounded into submission, I'd get a side stitch or I'd kick my leg. Every breath I took seemed to be a tremendous effort. (I suppose it didn't help that I continued smoking for about four months after I started running). When I finished a run, I wasn't happy. I was just glad to be finished. I'd sit on my front porch for what felt like forever before I wanted to move again and when I did move again, I regretted it. I stuck with it only because I had decided that, as bad as running was, being fat was worse. That was nearly five years ago. Fast forward to now.
This hasn't been a great running week. The weather has sent me to the treadmilll a couple of times and I have skipped a couple of runs to take care of sick kids. So tonight, (Saturday, January 26) I hit the road at 9:30 p.m. I was just trying to get in a few miles rather than clocking one more day of zero.
The first mile felt a bit stiff as one would expect. It was dark and there were plenty of slick spots so I was shortening my stride and being careful with my steps. Plus, I'm typically getting ready for bed at that hour so my body wasn't quite sure what to make of this sudden activity. Still, I moved along and the second mile felt better. Around the third mile I went into cruise control and the magic happened.
For the next three miles, it felt like I was putting in no effort at all yet I was running at a pace that was faster than my race pace in the first 5K I raced in July, 2008. My legs were effortlessly turning over and I was gliding over the ground. It was a feeling that was too good to be legal in many nations and a probably a few counties in Alabama. Somewhere around the corner of Main Avenue and Dogwood Street in Nitro, I thought to myself, "I'd love to be able to bottle this feeling and give it away to newer runners."
Don't get me wrong. You don't get to keep it. It's just a sample. You have to earn your own feeling through "The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials" to quote John L. Parker, Jr. But you do get this sample because I know how awful it is at first and I know that you think those of us who get this feeling are either nuts or new age flakes or just damn liars. Granted, we may be nuts or new age flakes but we are telling the flat out truth about the feeling and if you keep running, you'll earn your own.
If you just started an exercise routine since the New Year, please don't give up. I know it's not pleasant now and it won't be pleasant for a long time. It took about six months before I ever enjoyed running. This feeling that you will eventually get though is real and it's free and, best of all, it's probably legal even in those couple of counties in Alabama.
See ya out there.