The dang Kentucky fans were all over town, but Ladonna Bowers needed to get her orange blood pumping. Today’s crisp, breezy weather was perfect for many Nashville runners – including my new friend Ladonna. Despite her allegiance to UT (Kentucky’s rival in today’s SEC Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena) she hit the pavement and soared through the Blue Mist.
A bit later, after UT lost the game, my disappointed husband snapped off the television and tied on his running shoes. He slumped out the front door, but returned home 45 minutes later a better man. It did seem that everyone who makes Nashville Nashville was out there tearing up the road together today. Writer Randy Elrod joined musician Spence Smith for a long run in Franklin. My lovely sister-in-law Catherine was among those projected on the JumboTron at Titans Stadium when she raced across the finish line at today’s Tom King Classic Half Marathon.
While I prefer to run alone, I never feel lonely when I am running. In his book, “Born To Run,” Christopher McDougall makes the point that people who run ultra distances can’t possibly pull off 20, 30, 40-plus-mile runs and *not* get outside their own heads. I am only beginning to add double-digit distances to my routine, but I already know this to be true. I’m definitely caught up in my own crap for the first mile; it hurts, I can’t get my breathing right, etc. I’m often still navel gazing into the second and third miles, too, but it’s more a mental thing than a physical one: “Man, I really wish I’d not said *that* to my mom,” etc.
But by the fifth or sixth mile, I’ve moved on. I’m thinking about you – not me. I’m thinking about my friend who has a hard time saying “goodbye”, my brother-in-law whose injury has him stuck inside, my cousin who is finally pregnant after so much sad waiting. My boss asked me, “Why so much running?” and I knew he would understand when I answered, “Because if you get to eight or ten miles and you are still worried about that stupid thing that happened at work last week, there is something deeply, deeply wrong with you.” It’s like drinking to oblivion, except instead of being hung over when it’s finished, you feel even BETTER.
Even if the wrong team wins.