In case you forgot, I am training for the New York City Marathon. We are currently one month and one day away from the race and I think fall is the perfect time to train for a marathon, and this is why.
This past week included Yom Kippur and a 22 mile run. Both were important for very similar reasons. The High Holidays are a way to restart and recharge, and I used them for that. And that was good. Sitting in services last week, I had the time to really think about more important "stuff" like family and long-term planning and what my role should be in making the world better. I did this on a very empty stomach and I believe it was exactly what I needed.
From time to time, it is important for us over thinkers to take that moment to be grateful, and say we are sorry, and start again. Yom Kippur is exactly that. The most holy day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur is a fast day, the final chance to apologize to God and to the people in our lives. It is also the last day to accept an apology. It is the last chance to restart for a new year.
Last weekend marked the first of three 20+ mile weekend runs in a row which make up my longest mileage weeks of my training. While I had already had a 20 miler on the books this year, I was still very unsure about this run. Twenty-two miles is a long way to go. As I said, I am an over thinker, hence this blog. But I also know that I was physically ready. But again, 22 miles is a long way to go. Running, like most things is just as mental as it is physical.
After fretting about it and making jokes in the pre-dawn hours along Ocean Beach, the run flew by and I felt great. Each interval (the club runs 8 minutes and walks for 1 minute at my pace) went by extremely quickly, but they were right on pace. My last three miles were well under marathon goal pace and I was even able to walk up and down stairs without pain. (Grace is another thing.)
This is good.
This too was a restart.
Unlike some of my online running chums, I have been really lucky with my training. Work and health have cooperated. I have been able to nurse pesky niggles and stay away from crushing pain. Work is work and I have been able to get in all of my runs (baring a few days of just not doing it). However, after logging over a thousand miles this year, it get tiresome.
The High Holidays and the rest of the Fall Jewish holidays call upon people to stop, reload for the winter, and give thanks. Long runs help me with this process.
Last night as I ran 9 Yasso 800s at the track under a HUGE harvest moon, I smiled and thought how great it was to be alive, to be able to run whenever I want, and how great it is to be a Jew. Sure, this isn't what most people think about when they are running in circles on the track but I did.
I have been trying to find a reason that running isn't selfish...I still think it is. However, it helps me be better at everything else in my life. Running also gives you time to focus on nothing but what you are doing. I believe that to be a Jewish value.
So Chag Semach and Run Strong.