I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Different Kind of "Running" in the News

This is not, nor will ever be, any kind of a political blog. My opinions and experiences with running are boring enough on their own without throwing in politics to mute the flame even further. But the two things connected tonight.

I was nervous all day listing to news coverage. I took advantage of early voting services and hit the nearest polling place last week, so my duty was done days ago. Not only that, but this whole campaign seems to have lasted an absolute eternity (nearly two years!) and I was ready for it to be over.

I got home tonight from work at 4:30 and had the TV on before my jacket hit the back of the couch, or my shoes had been kicked to the wall. The evening news shows had already begun and I got sucked in for a while, but the real results were still a ways off.

So, naturally, I went out for a run.

I could have done as little as 6 miles tonight, but decided to aim for 7 instead. I took my armband radio with me. It gets AM and FM, but it also picks up VHF television audio, so I'd be able to keep listening to the network news coverage of the returns.

It was also a beautiful night in Chicago along the lakefront. Highs today were in the 70s (!) and now that the sun had set, a steady, gentle, southern breeze had settled in to cool the air a tad. Gorgeous running weather.

I had so much extra, nervous energy that I hardly felt the ground going by under my feet. I felt springy and fresh. The evening breeze was like built-in climate control. I started out at a respectable pace, but as I got absorbed in what I was hearing on the radio, I started thinking more of national events and less of my pace. So, my pace suffered, but it didn't matter.

I got openly emotional several times (luckily it was dark out), and when NBC declared Pennsylvania, I had to stop on the side of the path for a few moments to collect myself.

After four miles, I realized that I wanted to do more than 7 miles. I would do 8 instead. After 5 miles, I knew I wanted to do more than 8. I wanted to do 12. I also knew that I couldn't do 12 because my girlfriend was expecting me to meet up with her soon to see the final results come in, so I would just do 8, anyway. After 6 miles, I knew what I really wanted was to just run the full 18 miles down to the southern point of the lakefront path, then maybe turn around and run as far as I could make it north again. I wanted to do that.

Instead, I settled for a speedy, tempo-paced, eigth and final mile - but when I was done, I found I was barely out of breath.
(Maybe I should have gone for, at least, 2 more.)

Of course, it was nice to be able to spend the evening with my girlfriend, too. But it was funny how normal it seemed to be running during all of the hoopla of the evening. It felt better to be in motion. I felt more grounded while pounding the path to the backdrop of all the history being recorded tonight.

The world was busy changing just a little bit, and going for a run helped me to process that. Running did that.


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