October is probably my favorite month to run. The temperatures are cool and it is usually dry. This year has been exceptionally wet– but the trade off has been that it’s been in the forties most mornings. October is a month that carries weight in my mind. Potential. It’s my birthday month and I always try to do something big, running wise.
In 2014 I ran 14 miles on my birthday. That was the farthest I had ever run at that point. That was also the day I decided to run my first marathon. That marathon (in April, 2015) didn’t go as I had planned. My training wasn’t what it needed to be and I went into the marathon injured, but I learned a lot from being forced to walk most of the last 6 miles of that marathon.
Last year I ran my second marathon in the month of October, and reached the goals I had set for myself: to run the whole marathon, run up doomsday hill (locates just past mile 22 of the Spokane Marathon) and finish in under 5 hours. I finished that marathon running, and knocked 43 minutes off my previous time to finish at 4:17:52.
This year I thought about those big goals and even considered trying a long, long run. Or a high mileage week. Finally though, I decided to do none of things and give myself the space and the time to revel in the joy of running. I wanted to spend some time not pushing myself so hard every day to meet set mileage goals, and instead, run for the enjoyment of it.
One of the things I struggled with all summer, as I battled anemia and pain, was simply putting one foot in front of the other. It was like staring down a solid rock face many days. I don’t regret continuing to run but I am glad that I am now well and the mental effort it takes to complete my runs is so much less.
And the result of not pushing so hard? Running for the enjoyment of it? 133.8 miles in October.