In the darkness before the dawn, on a path that was quiet save for a few bike commuters and the slapping noise of my running flats hitting the pavement, I remembered.
I am not here to look peaceful.
I am not here to be fancy.
I am not here to take in the scenery.
I am not here to make running look effortless (because getting faster is anything but effortless).
I am here to work.
I am here to sweat.
I am here to breathe hard.
I am here to make my legs more efficient and my capillaries more functional.
I am here to train my mind as it tries to wander, as it leans toward doubt.
“Just one to go until one to go.”
“You are strong.”
“Last one fast one.”
I am here to feel the rush of relief when I finish the last interval with a loud “HUHHH,” and throw my hands overhead as my chest heaves a gasp for air.
There will be days to take in the scenery - recovery days, easy runs. The balance is vital. On those days, I might look peaceful. But it’s not a requirement. I am here to run, and I do not owe it to anyone to make it look nice.