Today was the 100th straight day of running for me, and I decided to celebrate it. Instead of doing my traditional speed work, I chose instead to do a nice, hard three-miler. The fact that I had almost no time in which to complete this workout also had something to do with the choice, but mostly it was the thing about celebration.
For the most part, the run went very well. I kept up an extremely strong pace throughout and was continually surprised to find myself already at certain landmarks. It was getting warmer, but not hot yet, and while I could feel my legs working, I was nowhere near the point of exhaustion.
There was one awkward point of the run, but it had nothing to do with my running. As I climbed the last little hill before my turn homeward, I found myself somewhere I had never been before: standing between a buzzard and its dinner. Now, I'm not sure exactly what kind of bird it was, so before the ornithologists come and get me, let me acknowledge that this thing looked like a buzzard and had clearly been eating something with a tail. That's enough for me to give it the name.
As I came around a tree, the bird did its awkward hop/walk maneuver into the shelter of the bush opposite its prey, leaving me a path directly between the two. This was not somewhere I particularly wanted to be, but given that I was moving pretty well, I figured it would choose its food over chasing me, and busted through.
Once past, I glanced back at the bird, which slowly began its trek back across the sidewalk, cautiously watching both directions for any more interruptions. I began to think of how this bird was actually kind of a coward. Sure, it's scary looking and people don't like them because of the connection they have with death, but really, buzzards aren't, by any means, threatening birds. They hunt things that have already died, and, evidently, run (not fly, mind you, so they're clearly not that smart) away from anything nearing them, particularly runners in bright green shirts.
How often have I looked at something from afar and been terrified? Something seems like it should be scary, and it becomes so, regardless of the actual danger it poses. A marathon can have the same effect on some people. You say twenty-six miles, and the blood just drops out of their faces. The more you run, however, you find out that your number one opponent in the marathon is boredom. You have to train yourself to keep moving for hours at a time without getting distracted, and the more you can do that, the less likely you'll be to encounter any sort of physical difficulty related to the race itself.
And if you ever need a little extra motivation, just imagine yourself between and buzzard and its mid-afternoon snack.
That'll get you moving.
78 degrees, cloudy