Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Yesterday's workout was a workout on the track.  My training partner of the day wanted to do 5x1600.  Having arrived a little late (despite only doing 800M of warmup), I could not manage 5x1600, so we decided to do 2x3200 + 1600 with a quarter mile between each.  Combine that with a half mile to start and a half to finish, and I did 6.5 miles.  (She did another half as she'd arrived a bit earlier and ran two extra warmup laps with the rest of our Tuesday morning group.)  In any case, we ran a slow 7:03 to start but then ran just under 7 (ending around 6:48 for the 1600) for the other intervals.  That was the most under control track workout I had done in a long time.  Yes, a challenge to my system to speed back up to 7 minute miles after a week of long mileage at 8:30-9 min/mile.  But not so much of a challenge as when I had been doing 6:20's or 6:30's.  And it was amazing, as always, to watch one guy who ran 3x3200 with each mile being at sub-6 pace.

So, this puts me another 6.5 miles west on US 22/Ohio 3 and I am approaching Cincinnati proper.  This has been a really long way on US 22--similar to spending a lot of time on US 40 earlier in this virtual trip.  It would be fascinating to run it in reality to see the ways a road changes and evolves as it moves west across the country.

That sense of evolution is what I want to write about today. Sunday's entry was written before mass.  And I have run only once since mass on Sunday, so I will go back to the reading.  At St Pius X at the 10:30 mass, they did the long version of the reading.  It was from the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, verses 5-42.  It was a long reading.  I don't recall the church ever doing an "interactive multi--person reading" except on Palm Sunday in the past.  But this reading used a narrator, one reader for the woman from Samaria whom Jesus asked to get a drink, and the priest reading Jesus's part.  I mostly remember from the homily the priest talking about how the woman evolved in her relationship with Jesus in this brief interaction from first referring to him simply as a Jew (fear of the unknown), to then calling him sir (recognizing his humanity as a person worthy of interaction), to then recognizing him as a prophet, and finally recognizing that he is the Messiah.  Quite an evolution in a short time.

There are so many things in life that start as unknown and evolve to higher levels of interaction over varying periods of time.

So, I thought about my relationship with running, my fellow runners, and the community of running.

I remember when I started running in high school that it was an unknown.  I had run as a part of soccer.  I had run to play basketball but running was new.  Then, I loved track and cross country was just a necessary bridge during the fall season.  Finally, running has become what I look to each day for fitness and spiritual sustenance.

I remember that I did not know other runners when I began.  Throughout high school there were very few other distance runners in my grade.  Then I went away from running for years.  When I came back, I first saw running as simply a solitary activity to improve fitness.  Then, I joined a training group.  Then, I joined a group to run with others to help them with self-improvement.  Now, I run with friends as often as I can.  Sometimes I lift them up.  Sometimes they life me up.  The individuals with whom I run show gratitude for the company all the time.

Finally, there is the running community.  Four years ago, I just thought I'd train and occasionally show up for a race.  Now, I am still a part of the training group community even though it has been three years since the last time I formally participated with the Charm City Run training group.  I have kept most of my business with their stores.  Then, I joined Back on My Feet.  That provided a different, but equally valuable running experience.  My ties are weaker than they once were as life has taken over.  but they are still there.  More recently, I have become a part of the running/blogger community.  I have been a running blogger since 2010.  At that time, I wrote and ran and trained and raised money to honor Gerry Paradiso.  I turned that first series of blog entries into The Radical Transformation of Runner 1313--a fictional autobiographic tale of my experience.  Then I continued writing.  And finally, I settled on the idea of Connecting the Dots & Nourishing the Soul.  And I have stuck with that.  For two Lenten seasons, I wrote every day.  Then, I wrote three things last year that I linked together--Mile 27 (a series of 26 post-Boston Marathon healing essays), 40 Days to Better in the early fall leading up to the Baltimore Running Festival, and then The Spirituality of Advent.  This year, I am pursuing my virtual pilgrimage and writing and reflecting along the way.  And in the process of following another runner who writes So What? I Run, I have now been introduced to a whole community of running bloggers or runners with interesting social media pages who support each other.

What an interesting evolution.  I think it makes me a better person.  I try to continue to use my running to motivate other growth.  And I hope I succeed.  

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