What’s so great about the outdoors anyways?
I can say – that after last weeks slog on the treadmill – that the outdoors are pretty damn great. Whether you’re staring at the face of El Capitan (which is on my list of things to do) or just walking to the market to grab some butter and Saladitos – being outside is a pretty neat thing to be.
With this in mind, I thought I would get up early and run with the Striders half marathon training group again and maybe catch up with some friends. As it turns out I am 98.7% bear and this is still winter so – I overslept.
Me: Crap – it’s 8. I missed the training run…
Also Me: You did this to yourself.
Me: No I didn’t. I’m not built to wake up before 8 am – unless there’s a fire or something.
Also Me: Whatever. You still missed the run. Now what?
Me: I don’t know – but I will be OUTSIDE!!
It’s funny right? Shelter is considered to be one of those basic needs. Right up there with food and waaaay before movie popcorn (which is technically food but you know what I mean). And yet… when it comes to running I would definitely prefer to be outside. I guess “shelter” means protection from the elements – and when running “proper attire” counts. SO what I’m really trying to say here with all of this is that I don’t like the treadmill for long runs anymore.
There. I said it.
I’m breaking up with you treadmill. For long runs. (You can still call me for short runs. Shhhhhhh)
I have done several 20 mile runs on a treadmill over the past 10 years and many many more runs in the teens. I guess there some upsides. It can be okay if you’re watching a movie (or two). The bathroom is nearby. The food is nearby. You have the benefit of having precise control over your pace and form. But as we should all know by now – upsides inherently come with downsides. The scenery never changes and every foot fall is the same as the last.
Funny how that works. Contained within something good – is something equally as undesirable. Except for movie popcorn. Nope – nothing bad about movie popcorn at. all. (Not… a thing… at… alllll.)
WHAT?! IT’s a whole grain!!!
SO I did manage to get up and going pretty soon after that first realization that I had missed a group run. The weather was cold but hardly Winter (with a capital W) so I figured I would run from my place towards DTA and then maybe head back.
Problem #1 – I live a lot closer to downtown Annapolis than I thought I did. About 4 miles. Turning around at this point would obviously not get me 13.1
Problem #2 – I did not feel like running up and over the Naval Academy bridge and then on to Boulters Way (more hills). Yes – that would have been excellent for my fitness and training and I think with a friend I would most certainly would have taken it on, but I was still grumpy about the whole heart rate debacle and feeling sorry for myself about a host of other stuff so I decided to meander my way around some more hospitable (read: FLAT) parts of Annapolis – including some neighborhoods that I’ve been thinking about moving into when my lease is up. I figure that if I like running through a place I won’t mind living there.
I really enjoyed the feeling of being outside. The miles pass faster. My legs feel stronger. My mind feels free to wander – and not just repeat the same tired thoughts. The variety of inputs – sights and smells and sounds – really impact what happens inside me.
I did go a little bit over this week but I could do worse on a nice sunny 40 degree day in the middle of winter.
Not The Run
16 weeks into this I feel a little like I’m losing touch with how I felt in the beginning of it. I get this way in triathlon a lot. Waiting to get in the water I’m just a bundle of nerves and excitement and worry all rolled into one – but by the time I’m halfway through the bike I’m all “what should I have for lunch this week?” – which might just mean I need to eat more on the bike but it also might mean that even on short time scales I have trouble reminding myself what I’m “here” for let alone on a project that will take all year.
This is not to say that it’s getting harder to show up for – maybe even the contrary. It may be that since it’s so regular or common, I’m losing sight of what makes it beautiful. The very basic thing I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Why is that so hard to keep my eyes on? What else do I lose sight of?
I’m reading “Running with the mind of Meditation” (thanks to Dan for the Christmas gift) and in it, the author talks about – when you first learn to meditate – having to repeatedly bring your focus back to your breath. I feel it’s the same and comes back to that word – Practice.
Next Week: RRCA Ten Mile Club Challenge 2019
Maybe it’s normal to lose sight of the bigger picture when you’re in the thick of it. That’s happened to me as well (for various things), and then it’s not until it’s over I’m able to look back and really appreciate it for what it was. Also, I worked behind a movie theater concession stand in college and have not had any desire for movie popcorn since.
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