A Return to Running

Some good news is that I’m feeling better than I was last week. That’s thanks to a pretty good week where I ate well and managed to work out 4 times (huzzah!). Plus, I have something new to focus on that will help with my exercise, and that’s invigorating. I can’t fully divulge what I’m up to, as it involves a big, exciting announcement that I’m not allowed to announce yet, but it involves running, and I have a lot to say today about running.

I can best sum up my general attitudes about running by saying that I enjoy the fact that I can run more than I like running itself. Running doesn’t necessarily bring me peace or excite me, but it’s great that there’s an activity out there that I can do anywhere, at any time, with just a pair of shoes. I’ve gone stretches where I’ve run a lot, and even participated in a few races (two 10K and one 5K) (read about all of them here), but I have no aspirations of running a marathon, or even a half-marathon, because they involve a lot of training, and I just don’t like running enough to make that kind of commitment. Running a 10K takes me about an hour, and that’s doable. Running from 2 to 5 hours? I’ll kindly pass, thank you very much.

But right now I’m in a place where my exercise program needs a little goose. There have been so many days lately when I leave my office at a reasonable hour and get in my car with every intention of driving straight to the gym, but once I get on the road, the plan changes, and I end up heading straight home and vegging out in front of the television. So, when I was presented with a wonderful running-related opportunity, which I can’t talk about yet, I jumped at the chance. Because in addition to being a big, exciting honor, this opportunity motivated me to come up with a new plan to get moving on a more regular basis.

The plan is this:

  1. Bring change of clothes daily to the office.
  2. After I’m done with work, change into aforementioned clothes.
  3. RUN.
  4. Get in car and go home and veg out in front of the television.

The genius lies in its simplicity. I often don’t realize how tired I am until I’m in the car, sitting at various stoplights as I navigate my way home in Los Angeles traffic. Now I can embrace that tiredness, because I will have already gone for a run, and it will make vegging out oh-so-much-more satisfying. Plus, every run will get me closer to my goal of being trained and prepared for the running-related opportunity that I can’t talk about yet, so that’s a good thing, too.

So far, I’ve run four times in the past week and a half, and I’m about to head out on my fifth run. The first two runs, on Saturday and Sunday two weekends ago, were absolutely miserable. I haven’t run in a long time, and that was strikingly evident. My pace was sluggish. I felt like I was barely moving. It felt so slow that I was certain the only explanation behind me making any progress down the sidewalk whatsoever was due to the movement of the tectonic plates. I also didn’t realize how ridiculously hot it was – around 100 degrees (or possibly a few degrees hotter), so that didn’t help either. My second two runs, done in the evenings, after it had significantly cooled down, went much better. I’m starting to get back in the swing of things.

The other thing I’m working hard to focus on is embracing my running successes. During each of those first two miserable runs, I only made it about 20 minutes before stopping, and, initially, that really pissed me off – partly because it’s much less than I was used to (even though I hadn’t run in weeks or possibly months), and partly because I was 20 minutes away from home, which meant there was a lot of walking ahead of me (I ended up alternating between jogging and walking on the way back). I stayed pissed about it for a few days, when I finally told myself to calm the fuck down and reframed them in my head as successful workouts. Twenty minutes is better than five or ten or nothing at all. I’m also trying to be less focused on stats. I have a lengthy running chart that I used to be diligent about maintaining (see it here), but I’m staying away from it for the time being. Tracking stats adds a lot of pressure to outperform myself, and I don’t want that added pressure right now.

For now, all I want to do is run. (That’s a sentence you won’t hear me say very often.) I just want to get more activity in my life on a more regular basis. I just want to prepare for this exciting opportunity. And who knows, maybe, in the process, I’ll grow to like running a little bit more.

Keep it up, David.

One Response to A Return to Running

  1. Coco says:

    I’m so glad you’re running again! When I really don’t want to go for a run but know I need to, I focus on how good it will feel when I’m done and how much better my dinner will taste after I’ve earned it. I also find that listening to an audiobook or a podcast is a good way to let my mind veg out while my body gets a work out. I’m partial to cheesy mysteries or thrillers downloaded free from my local library. I’ve also found that the right shoes make a world of difference. You might pay a bit more, but if you go to a good running store and have them analyze your stride, they can recommend shoes that will make the entire process more enjoyable. Keep it up, David!

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