An insightful friend recently asked me "why do you run?" Sensing it is obviously more than just a fitness fetish for me and many of her running relatives, I replied "it is not about the running." She gave me a thoughtful glance, fraught with more questions, she was not ready to articulate. I simply said, "the running is just a way to get to my happy place." Running, is cathartic; it's about pushing your endurance and gaining clarity and perspective; it's about finding my happy place." During the run you are pushing extremes and for a brief moment the world just seems to align, everything has its place. Afterward, you get to ride those feelings out for hours while your endorphins provide a steady stream of naturally derived chemicals into your bloodstream. So, I am addicted and unashamed of my "habit." At the end of the day, I am just a better person in all the role(s) I fulfill. For these reasons, I run. The fact I am fortunate to have two running partners, whom I consider very cherished friends, to keep me motivated, accept me with all my faults (there are many) and always generate laughter, is just purely magical. Thus, the pursuit of larger challenges and greater adventure temp me and I follow.
My first half-marathon in El Paso was really rewarding. The initial 3 miles of the course included memorable architecture including two beautiful churchs. The remainder lacked glamour but offered the challenge of a decent hill. The company of my running partners, their children and a visiting brother all piled into four hotel rooms for the weekend was the icing on the cake. We hit the zoo, lounged around the hotel like sloths and then bared our legs for nearly 2 hours with a starting outdoor temp of 25 degrees. Talk about T.H.O! All three of us ran sub-2 hour half marathons and our girlfriend Renae (not pictured) rocked in at 4th place in her age group with slightly over 8 minute miles. Kevin also ran 8 minute miles and competed in a very large age/gender category crossing the line at 36 out of 95. I brought up the rear but was happy with 12th out of 71 for my age/gender category. Kevin's' Brother, Jeff competed in the Full Marathon and despite struggles with cramping, Jeff ran 10 minute miles for 26.2!
The kids' played all weekend and loved the zoo. For one kiddo this marked his very first trip to a zoo; doubtful it will be his last. :) Thanks to Eric and Paul for providing childcare so we could run. We missed our friend Amy who was at home caring for kitties. Next time Amy!
PS: "Finding More Happy" is a quoted phrase from a good friend.