Endless Running – Now

See that map? Pretty hot prediction for Friday night in north central Kansas. That temperature causes me to pause and weigh my options, ponder my goals, discern my limits. Then there is nothing left but to go running right now.

See, I signed up for a 50k race which was to start Friday night. But I really do not think it will be very fun to: drive 4 hours to the race site, run in that heat at night for 7+ hours, get back in the car about 5 am, and drive 4 hours home, then crash in bed for half the day. What was I thinking?

I was thinking about endless running. See, I do long slow distance runs for the contemplative time. To do it on a lonely Kansas farm road in the middle of the night added a mysterious dimension since I can\’t actually see where I am going and my world gets reduced to the tiny circle of light my head light puts out. I wanted to do this in the race environment because there would be a definite distance and aid stations every 5 or so miles.

Unfortuately, the extreme heat takes the endeavor somewhat outside my physical capability. I\’ve been a distance runner for 39 years. I don\’t lie to myself about my limits. Its unlikely I\’ll make it to the race.

This morning, as I was out running at 4 am, I decided to accept the dark mystery which was surrounding me right at that very moment. And that I could do the same every morning this week. A darkened suburb is not quite the same as a cornfield, but for contemplation, the dark suburb is enough.

And so I just ran, unthinking, up here, down there, around there and again. The endless night of the long distance runner started for me this morning and will continue every morning just as it has for many years. Its up to me to remember that I\’ve been given the contemplative gift now. I don\’t have to wait for Friday night, or a race. Just run. That is the goal.