My “day” job consists of continuous walking and standing, resulting in tired feet when my shift is over, so thinking in terms of running to and/or from work seems just a little bit insane. Yet, I decided to do just that…run home from work after a long shift on my feet. While possibly insane, it was one of the most rejuvenating runs I have taken to date. Actually, I have run two of these and enjoyed both of them immensely. Why, you might ask? Well, for a few reasons, at least.
I found that once I walked out the door of my workplace, it all fell away. It was as if I had never been at work that day. All cares, all worries, all work-related thoughts were gone. When I drive home, I often rehash the shift’s events or how things went. Not so on my run. I was out there communing with nature as I ran. It was all about the running, the feeling of total freedom, letting go of the day. I was active in the moment in a highly tangible way I had not experienced before.
Even though my feet and body were tired, I felt a sense of rejuvenation and awakening as my heart rate increased and the blood began pumping harder through my arteries and veins. Instead of feeling sleepy and exhausted, I felt awake and alert. It was as though I had wings on my feet. While I did not set a personal best the first time I ran home, which, by the way, is almost exactly 3.1 miles or the equivalent of a 5k run, I came close and only missed a PB by less than a minute. I analyzed that first run and realized if I could cut off just one minute from the first mile, I would have a new PB. I set about to mentally prepare myself for that second run home, well before I went to work that day.
As I set out, I again felt everything just fall away until the moment reflected only the run, the goal, the sheer enjoyment, the drive, the motivation, and the pain. Yes, I said “the pain,” too. Not pain in the sense of injury; rather, pain in the sense of pushing my body hard, harder than I typically push it. Inside that pain was the fulfilling sense of purpose, of accomplishment on the near horizon. And, I pushed through the pain, knowing it would be worth it when I crossed that imaginary finish line at 3.1 miles. I was not disappointed. I beat my former PB by 53 seconds, which was not too shabby, especially in the heat of the day. I hurt the last mile. I didn’t think I could finish it out, as my legs felt like dead weight. But, I pushed on anyways, knowing deep down in my heart I, indeed, could make it and could keep up the pace. It was an incredibly rewarding run and, while I was tired from the effort, I felt alive and alert, once again, and felt as though I hadn’t worked at all that day.
I will not attempt a PB every time I run home. Sometimes, I will just run a pace that reflects a desire to just get out there and spend some time running and communing with nature. Other times, I will push harder, driving my body beyond it’s comfort zone, putting forth increased effort to increase my physical and mental fitness even more. You can be sure, though, that I will continue running home from work when I can, if for no other reasons than the love of running and the positive feelings that coincide with letting go of the day and just being.