Faulkner said try to be better than yourself. I never really understood that until today.

This morning, after a phone interview, I set out to get some fresh air and pressed pavement under my soles. I always wear a watch when I run, so as to carefully clock the minutes I spend in motion and how long I’ve been out (my mother worries when I’m gone from her sight for more than ten minutes at any given point). I usually don’t run for more than an hour because she’d probably have a coronary (love you, mom). I couldn’t find my watch but I wasn’t going to let it stop me, so the sneakers got laced up and out the door I flew. I hit a serious state of flow; time didn’t exist. Perhaps it was the magic of a rainy morning that turns into a sunny afternoon, but before I knew it, I was zipping past unfamiliar landmarks, trees and smells. The air kept flowing into my lungs like the energy flowing through my body, though, so I kept going. This might sound strange, but I don’t remember consciously looping around to run back toward home, but somehow I found myself back toward the steep hill leading home. I didn’t realize how tired and jelly-like my legs felt until I hit the corner of my driveway — and then I really felt it. Exhausted, happy, and curious, I mapped my run online when I got indoors. 

Let me start by saying I’ve never just moseyed out the door and run more than 13 miles in my life. Today, I ran 16. And when I stretched to cool down, I felt such a release in my hips and legs and stretched farther than I ever thought I could.

We never know what flowers look like until they bloom. Why do we do that to ourselves, then? Why do we tend to presume we know what we’re capable of before we try?