Getting from here to there

Running has been interesting the past couple of weeks. I came out of the half marathon feeling completely strong, fit, and confident. I did give myself a brief break from the long runs, but at the same time I immediately attempted to increase the number of my weekly runs from three to four, and added the new element of unpaved surfaces.

The trail running is going rather well and I’m enjoying it immensely, although I’m not yet running on really challenging trails (I have one planned for this weekend).

I’m not doing so well with my plan to run four days a week. In fact I haven’t yet succeeded in doing that at all. I have managed to run two days back to back (a feat that was impossible for me not so long ago), but after I do that I find that I need an additional rest day. I’ve scaled back on the distances for this week’s attempt to run four days, and that may make the difference.

The sequence I’m trying to train for, which I’ll be doing on the Alaska marathon cruise, is:

  • 3 miles paved/level
  • 10 miles trail/rolling
  • rest day
  • 6.2 miles paved/hilly
  • 7 miles trail/rolling

At the moment, this is looking fairly daunting. I’m beginning to think that I’ll just go out there, have a great time, take lots of photos along the way, and congratulate myself for having the courage to try.

My mind is willing but my body keeps whispering that it’s a little tired. I find reasons to postpone that next-day run and give myself a 1-day break.

I ran yesterday morning in a new place, along the spit that frames the harbor. Most of it was completely flat (as you’d expect at sea level) and paved road, but wherever I could I ran through gravel parking areas and sandy paths that wind between the road and the beach. The mix of surfaces was pleasant on my feet. I kept the distance short, only just over 3 miles. The weather was perfect: high 50s and completely calm. As I ran along the spit’s narrow strip of land, I had a close-up view of the harbor, city, and mountains to the south, and of the strait and Vancouver Island to the north. Here is the view to the north.

I came home feeling physically great, and with a mental sense of relief as I had been getting edgy from a couple of days of not running. That’s the ironic part — my mind really wants me to run more frequently. My mind craves the release from all the everyday concerns, stresses, and hassles of life. My mind thinks running is really fun and wants me to do more and more of it. My body seems to agree and has responded remarkably well to the demands I put on it, but only up to a certain point. My challenge is balancing the desires of my mind with the physical limits of what my body can do on any given day. As an intensely cerebral person, I keep having to re-learn that I need to listen more closely to my body.

This afternoon I’m planning an easy 4 mile run along the waterfront on the city side, followed by a local microbrew with running friends. I’ve vowed to run comfortably, have fun, and focus on resilience. What my body and mind need to learn now is the simple discipline of going out the next day and doing it again.

I’m getting from here to there one step at a time.

I have to keep reminding myself that in running and in life, we can’t shortcut the process. We can’t (and shouldn’t) be someone other than the person we are, but we can take those steps to become the person that we want to become. One mindful, careful step at a time, with an eye to the future while also fully experiencing, being present in, and cherishing the quality of each moment now.

I want to believe that this balancing act between present and future is not an impossible ideal.

What do you think?


Posted on June 28, 2012, in Learning, Philosophy, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great post, it is a balancing act and you can’t shortcut the process. It was only late last year that I realized were I was going wrong. My heart and lungs could take the training (and more) but I needed to give my body more time to allow my joints and ligaments to get used to the running.

    • John,

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, that seems to be some of what I am experiencing. Not all of my body parts are aligned in their readiness to do more! My left knee and foot are always (figuratively) half a step behind.


  2. Don’t push it too much too soon (TMTS), enjoy the run, if your body is telling you it is tired then listen to it and don’t be afraid to skip that session….. and try those VFFs again, your joints will thank you for the reduction in impact!

    • Pete, you are so right. Rereading this post I can see how I am sabotaging myself once again. I can’t do everything and be everything I want to be all at once. Good things take time.

      I took that insight to heart and I did not run as originally planned last night. Once again, I learned that I need that day’s break.

      I will try the VFFs again, one of these days. Maybe that will be a project for next year…..?

      • Recovery days are part of your training, don’t view them as a “day off”. You need them in order to improve and repair, otherwise you will get injured, guaranteed!

      • I may have taken on too much with this staged marathon thing.

        Judging by what others in the group have posted on Facebook, there will be very casual runners and walkers on those Alaska trails with me. I think I need to stop stressing out over training for this event and simply plan to enjoy the experience of being in a beautiful place with like-minded people.

      • Yep, thats about it.

  3. I really relate to being so cerebral that even that activity drains energy! I constantly have to work at that, which to many of my friends is quite hilarious. They would take that sentence and chide me or saying that “I work” at being balanced, relaxed or mindful. Oh well! You have such a gorgeous environment for running, and I can imagine it would exhilarate! Have a good weekend, Lori, recalibrating anything that isn’t working as well as it should for you! You have some wonderful things to look forward to! Debra

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