Monthly Archives: April 2009

Running Past 50: ‘Tis the Season

We went out on our stand-up paddle boards the other evening–it was the first outing this year for me. I sort of thought I’d be waiting till it warmed up more, but suddenly when the sun made its brilliant appearance, I couldn’t wait anymore. I had to get out there on the water

It was a brief dusky paddle in the Lincoln Park cove: we watched the sun heading down in the west, the glittering diamond-water and a little bit of wind kicking up, causing some chop and just enough challenge to keep things interesting on the boards. As soon as we were out there, I felt the memory of this new sport coursing through me–ahhh, this is a beautiful thing.

After about 20 minutes, though, my feet really started to hurt. I have to work with my feet a lot to stave off plantar fasciitis, and know this will be the way it is for the duration. Stand-up paddling, for all its unique loveliness, is a total body work-out from shoulders to toes, and I was feeling it.

I can’t wait to do some short foot races this year, fund-raisers and fun runs, but out on the water, I was relieved I’d made the right decision about not training for a half-marathon–not right now anyway. We’ll see how it goes with the paddling, but for now, I have two loves, running and paddling, and I have to plan accordingly.

If we are very lucky, we will find a way to do what we love.

Running after 50: couple of new insights

A couple of things have happened over the last few weeks of running.

  1. Having put distance aside, I find I’m running over 20 miles per week.  That’s what I was aiming for when I was focused on distance.  So apparently relaxing and enjoying running, while leaving time for recovery between runs, is working out even a little better than expected.
  2. Now, since I’m not pushing the mileage envelope so much, I find myself focusing on speed a little more and have seen some improvement on the shorter 3+ mile runs.  They’re fun and fast and having the end point so close at hand makes pushing my speed a natural next step.  Hooray for natural next steps.

Running is just so interesting and applies so well to so many other things.  An issue that has plagued me most of my life is understanding there are good days and bad days–seems silly right?  Yet I know I’m not alone in that.  You have a good day and everything is grand; then you have a bad day and you want to ditch it all for something easier that maybe feels better and isn’t so ego-bruising.

Because I basically love running, I’ve stayed with it and learned at last that it’s just the nature of things that there are good days and there are bad days, and sometimes you can trace the reasons–not taking in enough fluids, didn’t stretch, don’t feel well, whatever–but more often you can’t.

The other day I was doing desk work for about four hours solid–sitting still, focused, quiet.  Time came for my run, I got up, not feeling like running after being so sedentary, no energy…well, I did it anyway, stretched, laced up and headed out.  At about 1.25 miles, still grumbling in my mind, “why am I doing this, I don’t even like it, blah blah blah…” I suddenly realized, “Hey! Wait a minute, I feel good!  Actually, I feel great.”  It was the weirdest mind game I’ve witnessed in a while.  Upshot: I went on to have a fantastic run and came back completely energized and positive.

Two days later, the same routine: sedentary desk work, no energy…but I secretly figured, no problem: I’ll get into gear at mile 1.25.  But it didn’t happen, and in fact, the 5.4 mile run was a bit of a slog.

That’s just the way it is, that’s all.  And what I’ve learned is flat out the best lesson in the world: you just keep showing up anyway, and notice the change.  Show up and be present.  It’s always different.

New bird pix up on Flickr

towhee preening in the rain 2, originally uploaded by seacat.

Spring is here whether the Seattle weather knows it or not. I’ve posted some new bird pictures on flickr–the flighty and mighty red breasted nuthatch, and the rufous towhee. Let me know what you think!

Running past 50: what’s it all about, anyway?