Yesterday, I remembered why I run. I suppose I never really forgot. But the freezing temperatures and the short days have sent me inside to the florescent-lit gym where a treadmill is my constant companion. And while there is something to be said for climate-controlled environments, nothing compares to the freedom of the streets. This winter, I’ve kept up with the running. I like the way it makes me feel and the way I can eat whatever I want, but mostly, I’d rather start my long runs at 7 or 8 miles this time when training for the full marathon than at 4 miles, which is where I started when training for the half. Running has become such an innate habit. I knew I’d run yesterday. I just wasn’t sure where. But it was 59 degrees, and I had the day off so my running buddy Brad and I went on a five-mile run. We didn’t talk. We just listened to the music coming out of our headphones, to the sound of our feet pounding the pavement, to the breeze and the cars and the way that our breathing, even though labored, sounded so alive. We weren’t the only runners to have this idea. We passed more like-minded people than when we were in the height of our training last summer. It was like each person was clinging to the last few minutes of sunlight and to the unseasonably warm temperatures and to the way they knew they wouldn’t be alone when they stepped outside with running shoes laced and headphones on. Running is a personal sport. I beat my personal bests often, I beat myself, I challenge my past and forge toward my future. But, it’s also very much a community event. Runners share a bond. They understand what I mean when I talk about my ugly toes. They don’t question my need to replace my running shoes every four months, and they truly “get” the profoundness of the invention of dryfit fabric. They feel the excitement, the high you get when you run one mile further or one minute faster. The way that the idea of running 26 miles is neither scary nor intimidating but rather a goal that is very much attainable. They view their bodies as the machines they are intended to be. Food is fuel. Water is vital. Rest is paramount. And running is the way to keep it all balanced.