Monday, August 14, 2006

Last Summer Vacation Run

Today is my last day of summer vacation. I've thoroughly enjoyed 8 weeks off from work, enjoying summer. I've spent most of this vacation in my running clothes or my swimsuit. I love the slow pace of the summer; no schedule other than the boys sports, my running schedule and dinner at 5. That's about it. It's been fabulous.

This morning I brought Tyler to football practice at 8 and then I and Topaz headed out to the trail for our final summer vacation run. The sun was shining, the grass was still wet from the night before, it was a lovely 58F with a light breeze and no humidity. Minnesota Perfect.

All during the run I kept thinking about how grateful I am to have 8 weeks off, to be able to run every day, to have my health and a healthy family.

I came up with the realization that maybe I enter these 100 mile races so that I have a reason to run long. You know, if I wasn't training for Superior 100 I would have to explain my 100+ mile week last week. I would have to explain a 30, 40 or 50 mile training run. What are you training for? At least with a race looming ahead I have an answer that some people may understand. Or not.

Many don't understand why I run what they call 'junk miles'. Why spend all those days running with Topaz on the trail? Haven't you heard of junk miles ? You are wasting your energy. Make each workout count. Tempo, track, hills, long, train train train, make every workout count.

I run the 'junk miles' because that is what I enjoy. I don't run for a means to an end. I don't run only because of the next race. I'm not running only to train. I wouldn't give up my 'junk miles' for anything. They are as important to me as any other training run I do. These are the runs that keep my sanity. These are the runs that make me feel alive, that give me a sense of myself, that make me... me and that I enjoy fully.

Many people don't understand that I run because it makes me joyful. It gives me peace. The act of running itself calms me.

I run to spend time with Topaz, my quiet running partner, who is always there, always runs my pace, is always ready and never late for a run.

We have a wonderful time.

10 comments:

olga said...

I LOVE junk miles:)

craig said...

Sounds like a perfect way to spend the summer. Enjoyed the post.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

I have up to 2 "junk miles" runs per week. They are one of life's simple pleasures for an ultrarunner. On mine, I sometimes run with my IPod, but most of the time I'm listening to nature.

I think time on your feet at any pace is very much worthwhile, in regard to training.

Jen said...

Your weather always makes me jealous. I thought I had a beautiful morning run with it only being 73 and "lower" humidity. I'll laugh come winter and your water freezes.

I loved what you said about Topaz. I got a dog this summer because I got tired of unreliable running partners. Well Said as usual. Jen

angie's pink fuzzy said...

sounds like a perfect summer.

Joggerblogger said...

Great blog :-)

Sounds like you've had a great 8 weeks! I really like the bit about junk miles - I plod around about 6 times a week, I don't think that I have gained any speed over the last year.

But I'm still sane, and that's because of all the "Junk Miles" I need to get a fix :-)

Susan said...

ya know, i like those junk miles too . . . well, i did when i was running more . . . need to work back up to that pace . . . can't wait for my donkey to be as good as topaz

Ellie said...

I sure understand about Topaz... Journey is exactly the same kind of running partner. Who else have you ever run with who is totally 100% positive and never complains about it being too early or late, too hot or cold, too long (although she does act surprised if it's too short...)

I'm thinking about taking on ultras as my next sport challenge. For something new... something more.

Jack said...

I love junk miles too, this is where my heart is - just running how I feel, not watching the clock, enjoying the trail, come what may!

marathonP said...

Hi Julie,

"Junk miles"? Sounds like a concept that comes from a compulsive someone who is over-training and won't run for very long, and we're running for a lifetime around here.

Like you all, I train with weights alot, and run alot. The weights, pullups, squats and situps are for my body. The running is for my mind and spirit.

"Junk miles". Such people must run by cliffs without looking at the ocean, and probably wear a heart monitor while making love.

Have a great last run before your 100. I'll be out for a 30 miler this weekend too.

phil