21 September 2011


As I stood in the pack of runners before the start of the Air Force Half-marathon on Saturday, I worried about the pizza I'd had the night before.

Was it too greasy? What about the acidic tomato sauce—would I regret that today?

More to the point: would I throw up during this race? Was the banana and peanut butter on bread combo enough to counteract any ridiculous stomach/pizza interactions?

Running makes you think crazy things.

And maybe it makes other people think you're crazy.

Crazy to run for hours just for a medal.

Crazy to get up early on Saturday morning for weeks in a row so that you can run before the humidity gets too hot and bothered in your Midwestern town.

Crazy to worry about pizza and crazy to use phrases like "negative splits."

So I'm crazy. This is not a surprise.

Of course, I prefer terms like committed, focused, driven, goal-oriented.

But if you must, you can call me crazy.

And you should come run with me one of these days, and I'll show you how when you run in the early mornings, it sometimes feels like you've stumbled into secret world: quiet, yours alone, softly glowing, only your breath and the birds making noise.

I had a morning like that the other day: there was a fog, but it lifted during my 5-mile run, the clouds that had come down to earth going back up to their place just as I made my way around a lake.

The sun on the water, the mist in the air. On golden pond, as it were. I did a little skip step out of sheer joy, and then later on my drive to work, I thought about how if I hadn't gotten up early for my run, I wouldn't have known that it had been foggy and gray. I would've just looked at the bright sun and thought it came up without any big deal that morning.

But I'd been there to see it, the sun, burning away the fog. And when you've seen fog lifting and sun peeking, it's difficult to be in an unhappy mood for the day.

And that is why I run, or at least one of the reasons why I run: because I never know when I'll see the fog lifted.

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