The Secret Life of a Runner

I am in the midst of training for my sixth and seventh marathons in the Spring. I am naturally more introverted, so I like to think of my training as being part of my secret identity. Especially running and training in the winter, I wake up, and it is still dark outside, and by the time I have finished my run the sun has barely cracked through the sky. After the run, I will slip back into my everyday life. For the rest of the day, the morning run is hidden from everyone…but it will be exploding inside of me.

Of course, certain runs have more impact than others. Last Saturday I went out for my weekly long. The plan I have set up called for 14 miles. It was cold and a little windy. I ran along the East River, hugging the coastline until I got down to the Queensborough Bridge and then turned around and retraced the same road back towards Astoria Park, where I would do a couple of laps and then head home. As I came to a stop in front of my apartment building, I glanced down at my watch and saw the summary of the run. I had run a little faster than I had expected or felt. I also felt really strong. My legs were alive, and it felt like I could have gone on longer. I climbed the stairs up to my apartment, did my post-run stretching and pushup routine, showered and then pulled on a pair of blue jeans and pulled on a white henley thermal shirt. I poured myself a cup of coffee from the pot I had made earlier in the morning. I walked to my living room window, stared outside while I was sipping my coffee. I smiled looking at the flag across the street was swirling in the wind.

Once I finished the cup of coffee, I pulled on my boots and made my way back down the stairs and outside. I had to drop off my library books, and I needed a haircut. I put my earphones in, hit play and started walking. At one point, I rolled my shoulders back and puffed out my chest. People who saw me walking on the street had no idea that I had spent a couple of hours running to Long Island City and back. No one had any idea that my body still was churning from the morning run and that even in this cold, I managed to feel a little sweat forming on my lower back. It is the same thing that happens when I get to the office in the morning after a good run. I am peacocking, and no one knows why and I don’t want them to know.

The people in my life know about the bigger races I’ll do, and they assume I am running in the morning, so it has faded into their consciousness. When I first started running five years ago, I couldn’t help but talk about it, and people spoke to me about it. But like most things that become a habit, running and my health faded into the background. Surprisingly, the lack of recognition and awareness of what I do from others has been one of the more satisfying parts of becoming healthy and finding the rewards of running.

My secret identity as a runner is the confirmation that this will never be about how I am perceived but how good this all makes me feel.

Day 13- 14.01 Miles- Long Run / Day 14- 9 Miles- Tempo Run

Day 14- Day Off / Day 15- 7.11 Miles- Regular Run / Day 16- 7.01 Miles