Thursday, December 6, 2012

Streakin' in a Winter Wonderland

The running kind of streaking, not the naked time. I've run every day since Thanksgiving and hope to keep it up until New Year's. What began with the Turkey Trot will end with the Resolution Run, and I'm running one other 5k (Running of the Balls) in the middle.

I've never streaked before. In fact, this is the first time I've run 15 days in a row.

Why streak? Not to lose weight. I know, hate me if you will, but I'm happy with my weight and don't want to lose any more because I'm still nursing Alfie. Not to get record mileage either, because I think that would be begging for problems. Upping miles while running consecutively for 35 days? Bad idea.

So why? The honest answer is I'm not exactly sure. I've been thinking a lot about dedication lately. Mindfulness. Perseverance. Accountability. Discipline.  Dedication to what? The gods of running? No, I don't think so. Dedication to myself, my body, my emotional sanity. And that Discipline word.  Not punishment, or severity, but discipline:


 noun \ˈdi-sə-plən\

Definition of DISCIPLINE

obsolete : instruction
: a field of study
: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mentalfaculties or moral character
a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
c : self-control
: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
— dis·ci·plin·al  adjective

Those first few definitions are, well, harsh, but 5B and C cover it nicely: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. That's what I want. If running is prescribed, it will become better integrated into my life. If running is a pattern, it weaves its way inextricably into my days.
Definition #4 also has a nice ring: training that corrects, mold, or perfects. At first I thought the second part didn't fit because running is physical, but isn't it both? And if I seek discipline in running, isn't there a moral aspect as well?

So how or where do running and moral character intersect? Runners can be immoral, even about their running (Paul Ryan's liar-liar-pants-on-fire marathon comes to mind), and plenty of non-runners are moral (I cannot picture Mother Theresa, for instance, in a pair of Mizunos).  It takes character to set goals, commit to them, and strive for them despite setbacks; to wake up earlier than the rest of your house just so you can have a run and be showered before the kids get out of bed; to persist at mile 19 of a marathon when your whole body aches and a taxi drives by; to run through shinsplints, bum knees, black toenails, digestive issues, and a cold. It takes character.

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