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.

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