Going into this weekend, I took the time to look over some old journal entries, most of which pertain to running in some form or fashion. The following in particular is a favorite of mine. It reminds me of the continuous ambiguity that lies ahead of us. This uncertainty always seems much more daunting and unattainable when it’s dangling in front of us, while seeming rather meager once it’s behind us, jesting at the notion of fearing it in the first place. Our ability to overcome such obstacles rarely lay in the tasks themselves, but rather our willingness to put words or thoughts into action. A simple action vs. reaction, as we assess the charge and react accordingly. We shift what potential energy we have into kinetic energy, building strength and speed as we push forward. All it takes is a simple nudge to get the ball rolling, or more so, the gears turning. As I approach this weekend, I gaze unknowingly into the potential that lies ahead and anticipate what may come of it.
*Note: This journal entry comes from a 10-mile steady state on the track. It takes place under complete darkness, lit solely by an incandescent full moon. Since its inauguration, there have been other variations, such as shortening it to an 8k, depending on where the team is in their training in relation to the full moon. Specific details aside, it provides for a great benchmark for overall fitness and an opportunity to bring the team together for race simulation, in a relatively controlled and relaxed effort.
Moonlight Run 9/4/09
Guided only by the fluorescent glow of the moon, we venture out onto the glorious elongated oval to put in some serious work. As we gaze ahead to the unknown towards the planned workout, I am both excited and uncertain how the night may unfold.
Right away we get into an even rhythm around 5:25, quickly realizing how smooth the pace is. As we continue on this journey of a 10-mile steady state run around the track, a few souls manage to make their way out to the ominous battleground to cheer on and support those of us who are brave enough to go into battle simulation. Quickly a chant grows-getting louder as we approach the start/finish and fading into the night as we continue around the bend and over the backstretch. A constant drumming begins, reminding me of the heart, constantly beating so effortlessly in order to maintain life.
The pack gets a bit agitated around mile 3 as people start to shift around with a few unknowns throwing in some jittery moves. The pace quickly falls back into a steady motion around 5:20: easy for a few miles, but puts in a lot of wear as you approach 10 miles. After mile 4, the ache in my side finally subsides and I can now put all of my attention on the smooth consistent movement of my legs, being sure to keep my arms loose allowing my core to synchronize between the rhythm of my torso and the opposite yet equal cadence of my legs. If the body wants to accomplish something, it must operate in complete harmony amongst each of its individual parts in order to reach its optimal potential and my body knows no other way of performing.
As I tuck in, my mind deceives itself in thinking that it’s allowing my body to recover. This is just the edge my mind and body need in order to get through such a trial. Though my body grows tired, my mind knows nothing better to do than to tell my body to push harder. My body responds by keeping the planned pace and pushing through miles 6, 7 and 8.
Two miles left and all I’m focusing on is maintaining a relaxed and even stride. The last thing I need to do is to push it too soon only to regret it a day later. Final mile and a flick of the wrist displays our previous mile time with an enviously green glow designed for those who are lonely enough to look to a piece of technology fit around the wrist to discover if one is running the desired pace. But I was not alone, 6 other men were beside me, completing a solid pack of 7.
One lap to go. The hardest part is no longer completing the task given to us less than an hour before, but is now the concern of trying not to put in a world record in the last 400 as the taste of success is fresh and oh so near to all of our tongues. Final turn and the pack unfolds 7 abroad. 100 to go and the pack is strong, no one contending to “win” the battle, but instead realizing the work put in the last hour is where the win was at. Crossing the finish line, I stop time itself on the aforementioned piece of technology that has accompanied on more runs than any other being or companion. As we take our first steps out of stride, the funny feeling of turning left for 40 laps (80 left turns) makes itself present with a stiffening of my left quad and the aching of my right calf. As we end the night, anyone who may have questioned themselves as to whether they belonged with this group has found the answer within that pack of 7. We came together under the moonlight to accomplish a task and we did just that. Each of the 7 men who finished together stepped off that track with a feeling of pride and confidence. The night is not so lonely with a full moon to guide the way and 6 others beside you ready to battle, stride for stride.