I have been a complete slacker in the running category… I’ve managed to still get exercise – cardio kickboxing, walking, elliptical, and strength training – for the last few months, but I haven’t really gotten back up to speed on my running. This is, of course, due to a number of excuses that I won’t bore you with (remember the sprained ankle debacle? yes, it still hurts like yo’ momma). I was certainly willing to hobble out the four miles for the Krispy Kreme challenge last weekend, but was not in the least heart-broken when we decided to just “get the t-shirt” instead.
I miss running… or specifically – I miss running with my girlfriends. With me commuting long-distance each week for work again, I miss out on all kinds of fun events with friends throughout the week… happy hours, impromptu dinners, workout classes, catching a movie, etc. But nothing can beat the uninterrupted time of a long, slow, run with a good friend… all that time to catch up on the latest happenings in each others’ lives, gossip about what’s going on in Hollywood, compare politics, and bitch relentlessly about the hills.
I got up this morning and staggered to the hotel gym for a “trial run” on the treadmill. I plugged in my iPod on random-select of my running tunes and started a warm-up to shake off some of the sleepiness. After stalling for as long as I could, I up’d the speed and started running. I like to imagine myself taking graceful strides and making it all look effortless, but I’m pretty sure that’s NOT how it looked this morning. My legs felt like lead, my breathing was rough, and I did a bit of limping on the sore ankle. I finally got into a slow groove and managed to eek out enough intervals to hit the two mile mark… which I took as a victory.
At the point when I finally hit my (however uncomfortable) stride, I was able to stop focusing on my movements and focus more on the thoughts that were crowding my brain. I thought about how therapeutic my runs with girlfriends have always been because I’ve been able to talk through struggles, frustrations, share good news, laugh at myself, etc. And then the thought hit me… why couldn’t I do that myself? Why couldn’t I use that quiet time on my own to tune everything out and organize my thoughts – or just visit with myself? When I run on my own, I’m typically listening to thumping music or running numbers in my head to distract myself from the boredom and pain of running. But what if I used that time to focus on clearing my head – not just by drowning it out with music or math equations, but by thinking through things and maybe even working out solutions or being thankful for how things are going? I didn’t come to that realization until the end of my run, but it left me looking forward to the next long uninterrupted run with a good friend… myself.