Sunday, August 7, 2011

Running in loops

Running one large loop is no problem. Once you get half-way around, there's no point in turning back because, obviously, you would still have to go the same distance as you would by completing the circle.

Running smaller loops is a different matter. Unless you are in a rhythm, or unless you are extremely disciplined, you might be tempted, every time you come around to your starting point, to call it a day.

It presents advantages and challenges to people who are either starting fresh or who, like me, are trying to start again after a break due to illness, injury or some other reason. It's good that you have a place to stop and go back home if you just don't feel up to it, but not so good if you stop because you can't give yourself the extra push needed to keep going.

Beginning, or beginning again, is sometimes rewarding and sometimes just plain no fun. I guess it's like running, or life for that matter, in general. You have to slog through the bad days to get to the good ones.

I thought of this today after deciding to get up early and go for a run. I've been doing other things, but I haven't run in the heat. After healing from my stress fracture, I had built back up and set three miles as my basic run to build on after I felt comfortable with it. Obviously not a long distance, but long enough for me at this point.

Many people run to music, but I never did. I like listening to the sounds around me and letting my mind wander.

With so much to look at, running in New York or Boston is easier. But there's always something, first and foremost, of course, the sound and feel of your own footsteps and the rhythm of your breath.

Today the first loop around the lake (one mile) was fine, but as I neared my starting point I thought, "It's getting hot already, I did enough, I'm going home." But then I did a systems check. Feeling OK? Yes. Feet hurt? No. Out of breath? No.

So? Your excuse? Um, nothing. OK then.

I passed by my starting point and distracted myself by paying attention, exchanging greetings, and picking up bits of conversation.

Sun on leaves. Water rippling. Birds calling.

A couple comes around in the other direction. I say, "Getting hot already."

"At least you're wearing the right hat," he says, acknowledging my Red Sox hat.

Two college-age women speed past me.

"Oh my god," I mutter.

Correction: "Hey, you never ran that fast, anyway."

Behind me, a man tells a woman, "Somebody really hates me."

The students pass again.

They are laughing. One says, "...when I was running three hours a day..."

An older guy running about my speed comes along in the opposite direction. He gives me a big hello.

That's more like it.

The second loop done, I head back, past the bushes that smell like the beach, around the Mount Holyoke Campus a little, up some small hills. I have something left for the incline leading to my house and even  speed up, which is probably like my old slowest pace or even slower, but, again, that was then and this is now.

Home sweet home.

I drink water and eat a little watermelon, and then it's coffee time.


Anonymous said...

Thank-you for your inspirational blog posts. Please keep it up.

Joanna said...

I am so amazed with your running. I cannot imagine what it would be like to run a mile, do a systems check and conclude that I was not out of breath and that I should keep going. I would definitely pull out the cancer card....