Graduation Musings and Missing Running

Hello!

How are you? I’ve missed you.

I am a very bad blogger, and I’m sorry about going AWOL for the past few days. I planned on blogging yesterday, and Friday, and then I just didn’t have time. I know you are all constantly anxiously awaiting my posts, and therefore I apologize for any weekend tension you might have been experiencing.

#sarcasm

Actually, I hope you spent this long weekend far away from your computer, frolicking in Memorial Day activities and other fun stuff. I sure was, let me tell you, and with the exception of a few sign-ins for work, I was virtually computer free for the past three days. It was heaven, and I really enjoyed the temporary escape from the digital world.

I spent this past weekend (Friday through Monday) in Colorado for my little brother’s high school graduation. It was all kinds of fun, and it was great to spend time with my family celebrating all my brother’s numerous achievements.

I’m not going to go into too many details about the weekend, because let’s face it that’s a little boring, but I will give you some photos:

The best way to write a grad-dinner toast/song? Why over HUGE airport beers of course.

Seattle U bound! So proud, so PSYCHED.

Preparing the meat and vegetarian version of the exact same dish. So progressive.

The oldest sibling, and the shortest. That’s totally fair.

There are two things I do want to mention about my weekend, namely because they are actually relevant to the context of this blog.

1) I ran! Well, ran-ish. It wasn’t spectacular, or honestly even that encouraging, but it happened, and for that I am glad.

I tried out the run/walk approach, circling only a short distance around my neighborhood because I wanted a quick escape should everything fail—and overall I would say it went okay. It wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t great, and it definitely wasn’t 100% pain free.

I ran for 2 minutes, walked for one minute, and stretched probably every five minutes. This was tediously time consuming, and the whole time I was hyper-aware of any knee pain. Near the end I definitely needed to not exasperate my IT band anymore, but it definitely felt like things were getting better.

I’ll take what I can get I suppose, and if this is the only way to get outside and in my running shoes, then this is the way I’ll go.

2)I did a workout DVD. This was very much a first for me, and I only really did it because my Mom and her partner Kate are on a kick of doing the Insanity workouts that are oh-so-popular right now.

Have you heard of those? They’re like the new P90X and apparently all the rage for people who use at-home workouts.

And let me just say this.

HOLY HELL

If you think you are in shape, go ahead and try and do one of these Insanity workouts.

Now, it probably had to do a bit with the altitude (my hometown is 6,000 ft. above my Seattle home) but this workout was so intense from start to finish, and had me quickly keeled over gasping for rest. It was super sweaty, fast, and worked every last muscle I have. And while I know I will always prefer the open road and my gym for exercising, I officially bow my hat to anyone who takes these on regularly. Also, the instructor Shaun T is very entertaining and jacked, which helps.

Other than those two excursions, my exercise for the weekend was very minimal, which normally would have really bothered me, but it felt necessary. I know I can jump back on the sweaty bandwagon full-speed ahead anytime, and a few days of relaxation never hurt anyone. In fact, I’m starting to realize it actually really helps. 

With that said, I am honestly pretty sad about not running. It’s not really about maintaining fitness or training or a runner’s high or anything like that. I can stay fit otherwise and there will always be races to sign up for on the other end of injury.

No, what I really miss is just running. Not before a run, suiting up and hydrating, and not after a run, basking in post-run glory. I miss the feeling of running itself. Floating along, arms pumping, breath steady, and my legs engineering the motion.

Certainly, I want to be prepping for and finishing long runs. I miss additional carbs in my dinners and adding Nuun tablets to my water bottles. I miss my favorite Thorlo-pad running socks and my handheld water bottle. I miss knowing exactly when and where I’m going to race again, and planning spontaneous 5ks. But honestly, these are all accessories.

These things I can get over when I’m injured, because they aren’t what running’s about. Running is about being present and feeling that you and your body are entirely in control. It’s about feeling that momentary sense of strength and grace all at once—and pushing through the tough moments to reach closer to our goals.

This is what I miss, and despite being able to stay positive, I can’t shake the feeling that I need to be out on the road.

The Runner’s World quote of the day this morning really reflected these thoughts about running, and while it echoed my sadness and frustration, it also made me smile:

“That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.”

-Kara Goucher

I love this, and I love it because it is 100% true. Racing is great—it keeps us focused, motivated, and driven to be better—but the best part about running isn’t about racing. It’s the day-to-day joys we get, and I’m realizing more and more (because, when you’re injured, you get all reflective and existential) that this is why I love running. So many things in life are fleeting, and once-in-a-while. We look forward to certain events for so long, only to have them pass by so quickly. But running is something that can bring us happiness on a daily basis, and while we often emphasize racing and build up those competitive expectations, ultimately racing highs come second to the daily enjoyment of running.

And Kara Goucher agrees with me. And if one of the best marathoners in the world says that racing comes second, then I feel more content in settling on that mentality.

That’s all for now! And I’ll leave you with hint of a new experiment I’m planning on, well, experimenting with shortly.

Subtlety is my middle name

On that note…please tell me about some of your current running stories! I’m over being bitter (for today), and now I want to hear about all the great speed-work, races, long runs, etc. happening out there. Seattle Rock’n’Roll is coming up, and I know many of you out there are getting amped for it. So TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SWEAT!

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4 thoughts on “Graduation Musings and Missing Running

  1. Jesse Baldridge

    1. What’s a Nuun?
    2. I’m in the other camp. I hate running. It’s so boring. And Seattle kinda sucks for it. I didn’t know how good I had it with all the trails in the East Bay until I left. I love racing, though. The competition fuels me. Gives me something to work toward. If I’m not racing, I’m running for the people (and I suppose the fitness). I’d say one out of every, like, five or six solo runs are actually enjoyable for me.
    3. You misspelled “subtlety.”

    Reply
  2. Ricole Runs

    Congrats to your brother and YAY for Seattle U! 🙂 He will rock it. AND YAY FOR RUNNING!! Whether it’s short or not you got to run, and are on the road to recovery!

    Reply
    1. runbirdierun Post author

      Tell me how you like them?! I just got them in my attempts to get over some foot pain and run a little lighter. I’ve only been out once with them, but so far I’m a fan!

      Reply

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