I thought some more about the matter during a run this morning.
It was during the run this morning that it became crystal clear why I run and have for some time. Whether in the minds of some, this makes me a "real runner", it really does not matter.
For the first time in over a year I woke up this am with a desire to run early on a weekday. I have been blowing off early weekday runs for a long time but for some reason, I woke up early this morning with a desire to throw on the shorts and hit the roads.
For me the run is a ritual like experience. Running gives me a chance to express a piece of my humanity that no other activity does.
I Woke up at 5am and looked at the window and saw a glimmer of dawn coming. Got out of bed and put on some vintage Public Enemy and began to get psyched as the powerful voice of Chuck D resonated throughout the apartment. Put on the coffee and began to feel it. Drank two strong cups of coffee as the tunes switched to a more mellow but equally inspiring John B Good by Peter Tosh.
Put on some random pair of red shorts and hit the door. I started down Newton St in a shuffle as my big toe and hamstring injuries needed to loosen up and begin to cooperate.
Hit Pierce Mill and headed to the the trails that I have been running for years. Ran and ran and started to feel good. It was during this particular run that so many positive memories started to come into the brain. I have vivid memories of running with reckless abandon on these same trails 8 years ago with my buddies Bill Lickert and Josh Busby. I remember running around these parts with a younger Steve Money and this guy Hugh Owen and Alex Filides. We would meet at Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan and just run for hrs on hot summer evenings.
After some time, I found myself back at Pierce Mill and instead of heading home, I attacked the Ontario Rd hill heading up towards Connecticut Ave. I felt the power and juice flowing through the legs. This feeling is the best a runner can have(in my opinion). I moved up the hill easily and took a left on Connecticut where I headed to Cleavland Park and then to the Zoo and then just kept going all the way to DuPont Circle. I took a left at DuPont and headed down Mass Ave and over to 16th St. where I bolted left and ran up to my house.
During the course of the run, I saw people I knew all over the place. I smiled and said good morning. After a while, DC becomes rather small.
All throughout the run I was keenly aware of my body. Everything was working in unison. The legs, the arms and torso were complimenting each other and this is a great feeling.
I never bother to bring watches or such on my urban runs as I have run every inch of the city and realized today that running has allowed me to see and appreciate all of nuances of DC that I would never have been able to do without running.
Upon conclusion of the run, I stretched and put on the Kid Rock song All Summer Long and smiled and spoke with some my neighbors about life in general.