breaking free

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April 17, 2014 by scratchtype1

Not everything will be beautiful. Not everything works. Not all dreams and hopes come true. Not all your runs will be quick feeling like lightning or smooth like a warm spring breeze. I thought along those lines while I reached the top of a hill and saw the sun coming up almost in front of me. It had been a while since I had felt my body be like this, maybe somewhere back early in March or late in February. Back then, things had been going well. I broke 100 miles running in February and had gotten ahead of the pace to reach 1,000 miles of running in a year. That’s one of my goals this year, run 1,000 miles at least. I think some it may be a soft goal, but then, I’ve never done it before in my life, so it’s not like I can look back upon the past and say to myself, “That’s how I got it done before.”

Then came the 2nd week of March and things got tougher running-wise. Bad luck with the weather wiped out some running days. Then when getting past that, the first cold settled into my throat and sinuses and crawled a bit down into my chest as well. I recovered from it and was just nearly beginning to feel normal again when cold #2 began to tickle my throat. Its symptoms were milder, but lasted a bit longer. But its most obvious effects faded toward the end of last week and I was running again. The damage, though, had been done to my running mileage pace. The last 5 full weeks of running saw these mileage totals — 14.2, 11, 11.9, 15.7, 14.6. I had again fallen behind the Runningahead pace bunny, a mythical computer creature that apparently runs around 2.7 miles promptly every time the clock turns past midnight.

During that time, many the runs I could do felt labored some. Thickness in the chest, a heavy weakness in the legs, a sense of difficulty to keep the legs at running pace. I did do some walk breaks. I felt desperate some, I wanted to run with the speed I ought to be capable of, was tired of being taunted by the Runningahead’s pace bunny tail disappearing into the distance in front of me.

Still, on Monday morning this week, I set the alarm earlier. The daylight hours had grown long enough I could begin to tuck in short runs before work. I woke up that morning, had some decaf coffee, put on shorts and a tee shirt and the Xeros, and ran. Still some heaviness in the legs. A minor coughing fit at the end of the run. But better. Almost there. And some ground made up on the pace bunny. Tuesday morning, run time was shortened up by being overcast and damp, but I get out there again. And again, the body is better some. Same story on Wednesday, except for how the weather got cold again. But there is greater freedom and lightness in the feel of the run.

And so again this morning, a feeling that I’m almost fully healthy again, that I can run the way I ought to be able to. It may have been chilly, but that feeling put a warmth into my legs and chest. I broke free from the bit of despair and frustration that the last 5 weeks have visited upon me.

Later on in the day I realized that while I’m about 14 miles behind the pace bunny right now, I’ve still run more miles so far this year than I’ve ever run before in any prior calendar year. Even with the winter we had around here, even with getting 2 fairly tough colds that I had to recover from. I still ran my 2nd fastest 5K of all time even though I was getting sick that day and couldn’t run all that hard. So far this year has been a lot of running success and I felt that in the legs of this morning.

Nothing too profound in all of this. Mostly just a note to myself to remind me that in spite of the prior weeks, I’m still running better and more than ever in my life. I wouldn’t be here and now if not for learning about how amazing the bare foot of a human being can be.

I’ve got some crazier ideas kicking around in the head for a post or posts in the future. Crows. Shadows. Ghosts. Memory. I’m especially searching for a way to meld those all together and maybe that’ll come to me while I’m out running. Maybe not either. Nothing is guaranteed, nothing is certain.

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