The pleasure of the middle miles

The middle miles of a long run might be a little like the middle years of life – a time for the pleasure of being in the moment.

On my long training runs, it always seems that middle miles are where I finally slip into a comfortable rhythm. This morning, for example. It’s late August but feels like autumn already, so the first handful of kilometres are a bit of a battle. My hands are turning red because I couldn’t imagine wearing gloves in August. I’m waiting for my body heat to build and spread down to those fingers, while also trying to hold back on my pace so that I don’t burn all my energy too early in the run. I’m fiddling with my water / energy drink / iPhone belt, which always wants to head north or south until I get the tension just right.

In other words, there is a lot going on in those early kilometres. (Aside: "middle miles" sounds better than "middle kilometres" but I wish our American friends would get with metric so we could all talk the same language.)

Half an hour or more into the run, though, all those little distractions have fallen by the side of the trail. At that point, I’m usually in a park, running alongside the river or seawall or – today – a meandering creek. My breathing and strides have fallen in sync with one another. The tunes, the weather and the world seem to exist just for my pleasure.

It is here, in the middle of a run, that I get the feeling that I could run like this forever. There is no sense of fatigue. Intellectually, of course, I know all that will come. But when the rhythm feels right you just want to run with it.

The middle years of life (from my very narrow individual perspective) seem to share some of these characteristics. Much of the busyness of the early years has subsided. A person has a confident sense of his or her abilities, limitations and interests. Some days, you feel that the rhythm of life is pretty near perfect.

Ahead, there will be fatigue, aches, and pains. There may be great achievements or great disappointments. But in the middle of a run, in the middle of a life, the early and later miles don’t matter. What matters is that today, this run, this stretch of time, is a moment of pleasure, a moment to treasure.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice article, Lorne.
    Hate to break it to you, though, that “middle years” only applies if you’re planning to live to be over 110 years old. I hope you are.

    • your articles/posts always make me want to be right there with you! I want to be in the middle years too! so what exactly qualifies as the “middle years” anyway? 🙂 KD

  2. We shall see – I’m not sure 110 will be a good thing – but I reserve the right to make that decision at some future date. – LD

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