My fellow runners know what I’m talking about… no music, no Garmin (or other fancy schmancy GPS device)… just you and your footfalls. And the sunrise, or sunset, or busy street, or quiet desert. I’m starting to change my attitude towards running. I trained consistently for distance races for about a year, from a 5K to my first marathon. Since that day last April, my desire to train for a specific time goal pretty much went out the window.
Then we moved to the desert, and also to an elevation of 4000 ft above sea level, compared to Peoria’s 700ish. Running became a chore, and I was frustrated. Thankfully I pulled myself out of that black hole.
Now I want to run just…. because. Because it makes me feel good. Because it helps me keep up with my husband. Because of how I feel after I’ve completed a race. Because of what it does for me… spiritually, physically and mentally. Friends, there’s no drug like endorphins.
I ran an easy two-miler on Tuesday morning before the sun was even up. It was mostly dark out, no cars on the road besides someone leaving for work, and all I heard was my breathing and feet hitting the ground. I concentrated on my breathing and on my form (slowly incorporating my NB Minimus!). I don’t even know if it was exactly 2 miles.
This morning I dropped Aaron off for work at about 7:30, clad in my Texas “winter” gear (no earband or gloves! holllaaaaa!), and I took off on the cinder trail around his company. The loop I ran is one we’ve run before together. The first time I ran it by myself, it was during afternoon PT time and I was so intimidated! I didn’t even see many soldiers around, and it wasn’t blocked off to civilians or anything, but I just felt so intimidated. Biggs Army Airfield is so spread out on the east side that it seems like in some parts you’re running literally in the middle of the desert and mountains… tumbleweeds and all. I mean, my view wouldn’t make Runner’s World “Rave Run”, but it’s pretty in its own way.
Today I ran about six miles in my Brooks and felt great. The first two were a warm-up, and my body and mind were screaming at me. It was windy and chilly, but I knew with the sun it would warm up fast. By the second time I ran the loop (it’s about 3 miles) I was feeling like I hit my stride. I did run with music, but without the Garmin. That was such a liberating feeling! Too often I’m a slave to my pace and distance and it distracts me from performing my best. The Garmin is a great tool for interval training or tempo runs, but I hardly do any of those outside. It took me about 56 minutes to run about 6 miles.
Both days I’ve run this week, I’ve felt energized and pleased instead of disappointed. I’ve felt ready to face the day instead of groggy in mind and spirit. I don’t feel guilty enjoying certain foods because I know I’m putting in the work before I indulge.
I don’t know how many races I’ll do this year. I don’t even know if I’ll do a marathon (though there’s one on post in November), but I do know that my blog title is more relevant than ever. I can’t wait to go “home” and run some of my typical routes… Prospect, Grandview, Mt. Hawley, Coal Miner’s Park. I think running with those memories will let me see how far I’ve come.