Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Mile and a Half

Not me, but a guy can dream.

I went for a measly mile and a half run today. The dog came with me and the run was as much about getting her some exercise as anything for myself. The windchill was down below zero and snow was just starting to fall. I wore my wool shirt, lined warm-up pants, gloves, hat, running shell and fleece vest. On my feet I had socks and my FiveFingers. As things go for me, I was as dressed up as I get for a run.

Most of the time I go for longer than a mile and a half. My favorite runs are six miles long though I'm not sure why that number works so well for me. The dog isn't much for that kind of mileage and I haven't run for a month or so since I had neck surgery. So a mile and a half was about right for the first time out, for the conditions, and for the lazy dog.

Even with it being so short, the run was good. I felt good moving through the world instead of coasting on the Earth's axial spin. The weather would have been too frightful had I been standing still, but as a runner it felt good enough to me even if I was sort of wishing for seventy degrees and no wind.

A body at rest gets fat. I think that's Newton's fourth law. Or maybe it's just Fig Newton's law. Or Twinkie's. I don't know. I do know that during my recovery I have gotten pretty well pudgy. I'm up about ten pounds from before the surgery and twenty pounds over what I want to be for running races. That sort of thing, when I dwell on it, sends me into anxiety if not panic. So I had better not dwell on it. It's easy to not dwell on things when I'm running. Even if the run is only a mile and a half.

Syracuse Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run 2012
Yesterday, a friend asked how I was going to be ready in time for the Shamrock run. It's about two weeks away and runs four miles over hill and hill and hill and dale. My friend is someone who trains with discipline and mathematics. She knows what it will take to get ready for a run. Although I love math, I'm not very disciplined. However, I have something else to put in place of those things and it goes something like what I said last night:

"It's only four miles."

I don't see four miles as anything I can't do. Maybe I should, but I don't. My little run today was enough to show me that four miles won't be a problem. I just always feel as though, if I wanted to, I could go out tomorrow and run 13.1. Most of the time, that's exactly the case. I don't go fast, I don't win any races, but I can go for as long as I need to largely because I believe that I can. This is no substitute for training and doesn't allow for unlimited bon-bon binges while watching reruns of Matlock, but it serves me well as I try to do some things.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll get out for a run without the dog. Then I'll have a better feel for what the Shamrock run will be like. Tonight, my shoulder is sore and I'll have to do more of my recommended stretches. I'll also get to physical therapy tomorrow and see how things are progressing there. The general theme here is moving forward.

Running has a way of cementing an idea for me and that idea is that most of what is required in this life is to put one foot in front of the other and believe that I can do it over again. Running also has helped me get to a point where I believe in that completely.

That friend of mine who asked about the Shamrock run, she also helped me out with a mantra for finishing things. I can't remember when she first said it to me, but I know that it was on a run. We were likely trying to get to the end of a run or a race when she said, "just five minutes more; you can do anything for five minutes." I like that. There really isn't much in this life that I can't handle if I break it down like that. Five minutes is a short time. For five minutes I can run, I can live, and you bet your ass I can write on.