This morning I ran the fastest four miles in years. On the physical side, last year was about getting through a marathon and searching for meaning. I'm still searching for meaning, but I'm also now searching for a particular level of physical performance. So, running my fastest four miles in four years is a big deal. I ran it in under 28:00 (in other words in an average of less than 7 minutes per mile). I was no where near pushing myself to this level last year. Now that I am there, I'm feeling really good and do not think I am at risk of overuse injury as long as I take Fridays off after intense tempo workouts on Thursdays.
What does running 4 sub 7's get me in addition to a nice time to report? Definitely a runner's high. Since I tend to run it pretty constant (or with a little up incline every now and then or with a little kick up here and there to make sure that my four mile average is, indeed, below 7 minutes per mile), I am beginning to feel like a "well tuned machine". That is a great thing to have.
When I reach that point and can just do the running, I also begin to tap into the spiritual side. I begin to feel a sense of serenity and ease of running. I begin to feel that life and running are a gift from God. And I begin to explore what it all means. There truly is someplace other than the normal reality that I go when I am hitting these miles one after another in ways that I know are right. I use it as a time to ponder and a time to pray. I hope to be able to continue to experience this for quite some time.