Monday, November 29, 2010

Running for Thanksgiving Sans Turkey, Pt. Deux

Tofurkey, stuffing, mashed 'taters, gravy, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce, caesar salad, biscuits, pie and cake; and all vegan. This was the rockin' Thanksgiving dinner my bff Marisa and her husband, Chris, (also a bff) put together for the holiday. It really was an amazing day.

I had spent a good portion of the week feeling down. Winter is coming. There are some minor tensions on a property deal I'm working on (I've been trying to pick up yet another great little rental property). I'm concerned that I'll never have another meaningful relationship - I'll add here that it is completely my fault, because I suck at relationships - even writing this, I actually feel a bit relieved that I'm single. I have a mildly tense extended family trip coming up... The list goes on. It is no worse than anyone else's, but it is my list. And I tend to fixate on a few minor things that keep me up at night.

I was also a bit down because I have been lacking energy on runs. And, coupled with the kinda crappy diagnoses of the past two weeks, running was becoming a stressor rather than a stress reliever. So, on T-day, Chris and I went for a little run around the lake before we ate. The lake where he and Marisa live has a brutal 3.5 - 5 mile circumference (depending on the route one takes). The brutality comes in the form of the most intense hills I've ever run on (leaving altitude out of the mix). It was also cold as a deep space when we set out. But what a beautiful run. I sucked wind and struggled and gasped throughout. However, everything around us seemed crisp and crackly. There were some friendly dogs that popped out now and then, but only one car on the whole excursion.

When we finished, I felt great. And it lasted through a short 3 mile run the next day. So following that I cranked through a nice 5 miler on Sat, and then a 7 miler yesterday (I'm taking a rest day today). All of the runs felt great. The final one began badly, but I said to myself Self, I'm not racing. Just run a pace to get into this thing, and enjoy it.... And you know what? I did.

While I do like running faster and longer, my condition (read age) doesn't always allow for that. Chilling out, and just running for fun, with absolutely no goal, seems to be restorative to me. And everything is relative. I mentioned my runs in a conversation with a woman who is a very good distance runner at a party on Saturday. She commented that my chill out pace of 9 min/mile is much faster than her race pace. I'm thinking of joining her on a couple of training runs in the future just to enjoy being out and moving with more friends.

Enjoyment. That has always been a part of why I run, but it somehow took a back seat as I pushed and pushed over the past few years to become faster. Now it is again moving back to take its rightful place as the central reason I run.

During the run on Sunday I had a thought about putting together two distance runs for friends this Spring and summer. My plan is to lay out two courses - a marathon in the Spring and a 50K in the early Summer. I'll ask a few friends to hang out and make sure that there are 4-5 water and food drops along the courses. But otherwise, there is no organization other than a course map and a starting time and place. Time keeping will be up to the individual runner. The races/runs would end at my house with showers and a potluck. I'm thinking of inviting 10-15 runners.

Participants would be encouraged to run together in pairs or groups. There would be no first place awards. There might be an award for the runner who gives the best descriptive speech of the run at the end... I don't know.

I don't have any set dates, but I do plan to start looking at it a bit more seriously. I'm thinking of a mixture of road and trail running (both of which are plentiful near my house).

Anyway, that's all for now. Cyber Monday is upon us and I'm sure you'd rather shop than read any more of this... ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Al, glad to hear you are getting your perspective on running back. As for Cyber Monday, count me out! Just sitting around trying to recover from having fun over the weekend by reading and sipping hot tea. Happy Holidays and enjoy the fun of running while you are able.