“There is an itch in runners.”
I came across this quote today and couldn’t help nodding. Yep, it’s true, we runners have an itch. An itch to just get out there and go. It’s a sensation I felt on numerous occasions this past week as my house filled with guests and my days became jam-packed with activity. It wasn’t so much that I needed some space — though, yes, there was that a little, let’s just be honest — as it was a realization that this desire, this need…this itch to run absolutely needed to be scratched because getting out there and GOING is such an integral part of my regular routine.
I especially recall feeling it on the day following a rather late night out with my visiting college roommates. Suffice it to say, we had much to catch up on since last getting together as a group nine years ago. The wine, it was a flowin’. The following day, of course, found all of us operating in slooow motion — maybe a couple of us, ahem, more than others. Thankfully, the husbands took over with the kids and the four of us managed a girls’ outing that included lazily perusing the racks at my favorite second-hand boutique’s annual tent sale followed by lunch at a downtown brewery where we devoured greasy food and downed diet cokes. Hey, just like old times.
Despite a headache and a general tiredness that enveloped my mind and body as the day wore on, I couldn’t help thinking I need a good run right about now. We ended up taking a walk around my neighborhood, and this is when the itch got intense. As good as it felt to walk, to breathe the fresh air while chatting with my girlfriends, the urge to pick up my pace, to just run already, was unmistakable — to me, at least. That moment confirmed it for me: I am not a walker. I am a runner. I resisted the urge to bolt and leave my friends behind. We kept walking, kept talking. I knew I’d scratch that itch later.
I also felt the itch this past weekend, a few days after my friends left and my family returned to the normal routines. While I’d squeezed in a couple of early morning runs when our guests were here, they were short and sweet. I was craving a longer run. I just wasn’t sure when I’d fit it in between school shopping for the kids and completing three article deadlines. I found time Sunday, after a group run was cancelled. I headed to the nearby Vasa trails and ran a satisfying 8 miles.
I ran again early this morning, before my 7:15 a.m. pilates class, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The air was cool, a bit damp, and I felt so good and so strong that I kept on going through not only the downtown streets but to the north to run along West Grand Traverse Bay and into the marina, where acting on a sudden urge I took a sharp left turn and ran out along the breakwall. The water was calm and dotted with fishing boats and a few larger watercraft in which I imagined people sleeping to the sounds of waves. It was one of the most peaceful runs I’ve experienced.
And I credit not only the beauty of the morning for the runner itch I felt, but also that I finally, finally, finally bought new Sauconys! Who can resist running in new shoes as soon as humanly possible? I definitely noticed a difference in my run because of them. I also stocked up on new SmartWool socks and am giving a new-to-me “endurance fuel” a try — anyone use Hammer Gel? Jeff, manager at my favorite local running store, suggested I give these a try…I will let you know how they work. Juliette, meanwhile, is loving the GU Chomps she picked up. We’re both experimenting as the countdown to half-marathon in Eugene continues…less than two weeks!
Changes in your everyday schedule, an upcoming race, new shoes or gear…what triggers your runner itch?