That stands for "Long Slow Distance." Which, when you are about 2/3 of the way through it, has a distinctly hallucinatory quality.

Tonight was my last long run before the half marathon. The route I mapped was 11 miles; the route I ran was 11.67. When am I gonna learn to pay attention to bike path intersections? You can toddle off a long way on the bike path before you realize your mistake. Fortunately some jolly suburban types were out tonight and turned me around.

How was it? I loved every step. But let me tell you something about loving every step.

It doesn't come over you with no effort. It's not always, "oh, this feels so perfect and effortless." Love is something you have to DO. And most of the time you have to lean into it. Most of the time you have to clear your senses and open up for it. You have to drop your defenses if you want the embrace.

You have to feel everything. The cold that you underdressed for (tip: if the early spring weather is at all variable, be ready with sleeve options. And gloves. If you don't have gloves, tuck your thumb inside your fists and hope for the best). The tweaks and glitches in your calf, your shin, your hip. Even your own reluctance, fatigue, or impatience. Don't push it away. Feel everything that slides through and past.

Above all, the movement. The movement of the air around you. The movement of your feet and the paved or grassy earth. The movement of your hips, spine, arms. The movement of the muscles over your bones. The movement of your breath and the movement of your brain. You don't have to name it or understand it. Marvel at it, suck it in, drop down inside it, love it. Love every step.

The really cool thing? You don't have to be a great runner to get this. You don't have to be at any certain level of fitness. All you have to do is decide to feel everything that happens, even your pains and fears — then pick a distance that's a little further than you've ever gone, and run or walk those steps.

It's worth it. It's amazing.


Zoolander said...

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.