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October 24, 2010 / elodie kaye

Harvest

Running in a four-season climate, my year has two harvests: April and October.  Even though the calendar says there are two months left in 2010, my running year has reached its end.  I thought I might race hard once more, but I’m mentally and emotionally spent.  It’s time to rest under the blanket of winter, and contemplate what I’ve reaped before turning the soil to plant again.

Until last month, I harboured a small fear that I’d never recapture the fitness I once had.  I’m a mediocre runner, but the mark I set exceeded my expectations at the time.  Returning to it seemed to me the firmest landfall I could reach to be assured that I was alive.  Just as the elimination of weakness does not make you strong, the absence of illness didn’t convince me I was well.

I’m not there yet, and I’ve not quieted all doubt, but the fear has left me.  A year ago, I talked about, thought about, dreamed about running, more of the time than I actually did it.  Through the summer and fall, I ran 800 miles.  I cycled 500 miles.  I swam 700 laps.  I did a fistful of long runs between 17 and 20 miles, and tempos or track intervals every week.  Pain and I, the good variety that comes with honest effort, became reacquainted.

I ran the Midsummer 15K in August in 1:33, which predicts a half-marathon time of 2:14.  I ran the Waterfront Half-Marathon in September in 2:06.  I ran the Toronto half last week in 2:02.  I had to see for myself that my body could be taught to endure, to become stronger, that it could be prodded and coaxed to be better.

After spending a year doing, more than thinking, I am free.  I didn’t really know it was what I needed, but this running year has been a long exercise of looking down and counting all my fingers and toes.

Yes, I still have ten of each.  I am alive.

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4 Comments

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  1. Anne / Oct 28 2010 8:41 am

    This time of year, for more reasons than one, I wish I lived farther north where there is a change in seasons. I sometimes dislike the fact that nothing slows down here. And, as they say, without a winter there can be no spring. I’m glad your year went so well. And I envy your time to recharge.

    • elodie kaye / Oct 28 2010 4:53 pm

      Autumn has always been my favourite season, even more than spring because it’s so satisfying. I’m even looking forward to winter (shhh…) because it feels so alive to be running when all the world is asleep. There is something wonderfully decadent about lavishing energy against wind and snow, when everyone else is hunkering down and saving theirs. However, I’ll say that it only takes me about two months of this before I’m thoroughly overfed with it. I’ll be crying on your shoulder Anne, and cursing the four seasons some time around February, with 8 weeks of winter left to go!

  2. gpetitto / Oct 28 2010 8:41 pm

    It has surely been a good year. Well done, friend. I look forward to following along with your continued journey.

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