Yesterday I started my run in Mundy Park at 6:45. It was still fresh and cool. I was running in the shade, and the early rays of sunlight filtering through the leaves were still benign. Nonetheless, after ten minutes of easy running I was already beginning to sweat heavily, and I started pushing myself.
How I love the good sweat of a summer run!
I wrote most of this post over a month ago, after a very similar run. Both runs were between 7K and 8K and covered many of Mundy Park’s trails. The routes were completely different, though. I know lots of people who always do the perimeter trail (~4.5K) or multiples of it. Some people have other favourite loops. But I thrive on variety and spontaneity. After 28 years of running in Mundy Park, I’ve made up around 40 different workouts and, taking warmups and cooldowns into account, I’ve seldom repeated exactly the same run or workout.
July 4, 2018
This morning when I first rose to consciousness and opened my eyes, I could glimpse sunshine reflecting from somewhere through a gap in my blinds. It sent a jolt of gladness through me, but still I felt as though I could let myself sink back into sleep. Lights-out had been after midnight.
Through half-open eyes I glanced at my watch on the bedside table. 5:29. Yeah, I could probably sleep some more.
But then I remembered it was a running day! Knowing it was a perfect sunny day made me even more eager than usual to do my Mundy Park run, and the earlier I started, the fewer dogs there would be in the park.
Just after 7:00, I was in the trails. I started my run by going down and up the Austin Trail, just for novelty since I hadn’t run that trail in a while. As usual, I felt intensely happy as soon as I got into the dappled shade of the park, always familiar-yet-mysterious, with its fresh smells and birdsong, the busy morning traffic reduced to a dim background sound.
I start like a jogger now, like the older person I am. I have to ease my knee into running. Today I was also aware of muscle soreness in my inner thighs from doing a few intense sets of kettlebell swings yesterday.
But I quickly got into the rhythm of running, and after one or two kilometres I was moving at a decent pace, pushing because I enjoy the exertion of running, yet still relaxed. I like it when it’s a warm day and I reach the stage when I’ve broken into a sweat and I’m breathing quite hard but all of my body feels like it’s working perfectly. I am a machine designed to do this.
(But how could a machine enjoy this so much? And not only with its physical components but its spirit? And don’t tell me I simply have neurons rather than another kind of wiring—spirit is more!)
I never run more than about 8K now so after 5K of running I was reaching a certain level of fatigue where I had to concentrate to maintain my pace. I usually want to push closer to all-out near the end. It sure feels good to be able challenge myself! It brings back memories of the time when “endurance” didn’t mean a 40-minute run as it does today, but rather a 90-minute run or two loops around Burnaby Lake in 80 minutes.
But I finished my run and my knee didn’t hurt. I was utterly content, and I knew I would feel good for hours. The morning was still fresh and seemed more beautiful than ever now that I was a fully alive part of it.