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Happy St. Valentine’s Day! It is a wonderful day for loving others and yes, for loving running. When did I discover I truly loved running? Probably when I was in my teens (maybe younger), shortly after a doctor told me in junior high no more football, you’re too thin, you’ll get hurt. I was angry at first and concerned that with asthma, I wouldn’t be able to run as much as I wanted. My Dad and brothers were lapping me on the track while I struggled to breathe sometimes. Finally, just made up my mind: I will crush asthma by running! And I couldn’t run as fast as my Dad or brothers when I was young so I decided to just run longer instead of faster.

Suddenly, I realized how fun it was to just run far and how it seemed to take me far away from the rest of the world, from the stresses and worries of life. Sometimes, life is better when you D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Run).

Running became more important to me and has become one of my favorite pastimes. How do I know I love running? Running shoes (and clothes) everywhere. A revolving laundry basket of sometimes clean, sometimes not clean running clothes. Contemplating a running streak of 365 days in a row (88 days in today). Wondering if it is possible to run every day for the rest of my life. There is such amazing freedom in running that doesn’t seem comparable to anything else that I seem to desire more and more of it. I have a constant craving to run. Why? Because it’s fun, peaceful, tranquil, quiet. It’s my personal reflection and thought time. The beautiful scenery, the sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, starlight, the precipitation (or lack thereof), and the animals (and the sounds they make) you see make it all worthwhile.

My dear wife loves to hand me my running shoes sometimes (or she’ll say “lace up your running shoes” and “GO RUN!”) when I get too stressed about things. We have an unwritten agreement/mutual understanding that this is sometimes the only thing that can allow me to crush my stress. I love her for knowing me well enough to understand this. In exchange, I encourage her to run and get her workouts in, too. After all, this is mutual running love.

Today was a day for running inside due to some fresh snow and newly-arrived cold. So I ran in Valentine, Nebraska virtually on the treadmill. Valentine is a small town in central Nebraska very popular on Valentine’s Day for tourism and lovers get their Valentine envelopes cancelled there so it says “Valentine” on the front of the envelope. (Reminding myself to do this for my wife at least once.) Also very popular for canoeing in the summer on the Niobrara River.

Valentine's Day run in Valentine, Nebraska

Valentine’s Day run in Valentine, Nebraska

Fridays are frequently fartlek workouts for me-I randomly started doing “fartlek Fridays” and it seems to work. It allows for shorter runs so I can brace my legs for the mega-mileage that usually occurs on Saturdays and Sundays.

Do you love your runs? If not, do you tell yourself you do? As Voltaire wrote in Candide, “We must cultivate our garden.” It takes work to do that with running. Can you convince yourself that you do love running?

Leaving you with “All you Need is Love” by the Beatles.

With Running Love, Running Groove Shark