Although not cold by many standards, in Florida this morning was cold and clear. Our first cold morning of the season, it was 48 degrees F and I was excited to see how it would feel to run in the chill instead of the heat.
Uncertain how cold I would feel, but knowing I would warm up quick, I wore capri length jogging pants, a short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve running shirt thrown over it. Instead of the visor I had been wearing (more to keep sweat out of my eyes than the sun) I put a running hat on to keep heat in.
Setting my podrunner tunes to 170, I set off for my 5 mile run at a brisk pace. The cool air felt great and the stars twinkled brightly. My first mile breezed by at 10:06 - a bit fast but still a comfortable pace. I was already warming up so I pushed my sleeves up and after my 1 min walking break I pressed on. My second mile was at 10:26. This was feeling great.
The entire run continued like that - I felt like I could run on and on. I finished the last mile of the run in 9:46 and felt great! 51:51 for the 5 miles - my fastest run on this route yet. This weather is a lot like the weather around the date of the marathon. If we get a morning like this I will be in heaven.
As I ran today, I was thinking of a recent epiphany I had regarding why we pursue certain goals in life, accomplishments, our "blue ribbons." Without getting into the details of my epiphany, I was wondering if my goal to run a marathon was just another blue ribbon I was seeking in my life - an accomplishment in the eyes of the world. And in many ways it is, at least it started out that way. But as I train I realize that it has become much more. The journey to the race has been much more important than running the race itself. Oh sure, I am looking forward to the race - but I wonder if I would be pushing myself out of bed to run on mornings like today - when I don't feel 100% and its cold outside. Would I be running 5 days a week if I didn't have that goal looming ahead? Would I plan my schedule around running 18 miles on a Sunday morning before many folks are out of bed? I think there is a good chance I wouldn't. So the goal is serving a greater purpose. It is establishing an exercise routine, a healthy approach to life that benefits me, my family and the people around me. They don't care if I win a race (which is good since I never will). They care if I am healthy, happy and part of their lives. That makes me a winner in their eyes. And THAT is the real prize.