About 10 years ago, I started playing a lot of golf. When I first started my career, I was on the evening shift at a newspaper, working what some would think is an awful schedule of Tuesday-Saturday. That schedule, though, allowed me to get hooked on golf. Going out on a golf course on a mid-morning Monday was awesome -- no one was out there. And I could easily go out on any other day of the week around 10 a.m., play 9 holes and be at work at 3:30 p.m.
But here's the thing ... I was awful. It wasn't "bogey golf" awful; it was worse. I would usually play 9 holes and maybe, just maybe break 50 every once in a while. And in the few times I played 18 holes, I scored better than 100 only once. In the few years that I played, I did get good enough to have at least one par per round and had a couple of birdies, but that was it.
The thing is, you see, is that those few birdies and a few good drives is what kept me going -- I knew I could hit the ball well and I knew I could putt even better, but I never ever dedicated myself to getting any better.
So, what does all this have to do with running? The answer is simple -- it's that hook of knowing I have good runs in me; that I can always get better. And, unlike golf, my dedication to running grows more and more every day. Even on bad days -- which fortunately seem rare now -- I know that I am learning something each and every time out there.
After this past weekend's long run, I feel like I am unleashing some potential inside of me. It's kind of been like that all year. I've only had time to write a quick post about Saturday, but there was something special about it. While the last six 6 miles were way off any desired pace I want, I hit the biggest hills possible around Bedford, I dug deep and kept going. After missing one long run because I was sick, just getting to 14 miles wasn't good enough for me. In the last couple of miles, I really didn't want to finish it off, but since I was doing some live Tweeting during the run, I felt like people were watching. While I don't run for others, I would have been disappointed if I cut the run short.
Just as in golf when one long drive would make me come back a couple of days later, one awesome long run is going to keep me going for the next couple of months. When all else seems lost, I know that I can fight through it. The finish line will always be there.