This morning marked my 14th virtual race since the onslaught of the coronavirus. For a person who normally runs about a dozen races a year, I have been hitting it hard. Up until now, I have run these races at race pace. I have gone out and run at full effort, the same as if I had a bib on my chest and a finish line to cross. I am beginning to feel the toll in my legs and am planning to virtually run the Sugar Badger 50K next Monday, so I took a different approach to this run.
The theme for this week is joy. I went out to run a 15K for the pure joy of it. I didn’t worry about the pace on my watch. I listened to a random collection of my favorite songs and when the beat was fast I kicked it up, when the songs slowed, I slowed. When Gary Clark Jr wailed on his guitar on “Got to Get Up” my feet hit the ground in time with the tempo. I enjoyed the rare treat of a sunny Ohio day and laughed off the dripping sweat from the high humidity.
I have always been attracted to people who have a deep joy. Two of my heroes are the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. When they are together they are childish in their laughter. This is not a naive joy, but one that comes from having gone through tough hardships. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile from his own country and Desmond Tutu lived through apartheid. And yet, watch this video and count how many times they laugh. Their joy is infectious and life giving.