24 December 2013

A Runner's Approach to Mitigating Risk

You're running in the street along the edge.  There are a few cars out.  Just steps ahead you see a stone the size of a fist in your path.

The mental calculation is instant.  You swerve into the traffic lane.

In your mind, being sideswiped by a car or taking a bad landing on that rock have the same outcome:  You can't run for months.

22 December 2013

On Waving and Smiling

I love the Shut Up and Run blog and am tremendously impressed with the author.  I take issue with one of her recently posted 7 Deadly Sins of Running, namely #3, "Not waving to other runners."

So my response is not directed to the author but to the general public.

If I'm out running or cycling, and if someone wants to wave and smile at me, I may well wave and smile back.  Or I may not.  I might be dragging from a long run/ride while the smiley person is just starting out all fresh and happy.  I might not see the person waving.  I might be in my own world; that's why I run in the first place.

We all have an obligation to be polite to one another as we go about our business in the world.  We can still do that without demanding other people's attention.

I don't mean this to sound harsh, but when I'm running, I'm out there for me.  I'm not the grand marshal in a parade that was organized for anyone else's benefit.  There's no marching band to herald my arrival, I don't have obligation to smile and wave at everyone I see along the route.

People who have that expectation of me are simply going to be disappointed.  Don't set yourself up for that.  Don't ask the person taking her first tentative run after recovering from chemo or surgery or whatever to be all smiles for you and make your day.  Don't hate on her and call her a sinner for not busting out a high-five, You-Go-Girl wave.

We all run for different reasons.  If you need attention when you run, please seek it in your running clubs and races.  That's all about glory and showing off your achievements.  I mean that sincerely and not sarcastically.

But for the rest of us just doing honest schlepping out on our own, on roads, trails, and sidewalks, please let us be, and don't judge.  

19 December 2013

Up since 2 a.m.

Like most people, I get insomnia from time to time.  Sometimes I'm so looking forward to running the next day, I can't wait to get up.  But usually that's a feeling that I get out of the way as I'm laying down for bed the night before.

But on other days, I'm just awake in bed.  It's 2 a.m.  I stay in bed for an hour trying to put whatever troubling thoughts out of my head, and now it's 3 a.m.  Still just as awake.

I get up and make some chamomile tea.  That effort is a double-edged sword, because it definitely makes me sleepy, but it guarantees that I won't hibernate more than 60 minutes before the bathroom calls.

Time passes, and by now I'm bummed that I won't be able to go on that run I had planned.  There's no way I can be physically exhausted and then try to power through a day at work and have any semblance of mental alertness.

Back to bed.  Still awake.  Now it's 4.  Getting close to my normal natural waking time of about 4:15, but I'll sleep in if I can to make up the lost hours.

But I'm too aware that it's near my normal waking time.  I'm just sort of wired that way and generally get up by 5.  Never need to set my clock.  I'm a morning person, I guess.

Well, at this point, it's time to make coffee and at least be productive at home before going off to work.

But the coffee kicks in.  I eat half a Clif bar.  It's so early in the morning.  Lots of time to fill.  Hate to waste this.

Maybe just a short run, slow pace, not far.

I get the shoes on and head out.  I start running.  I don't feel tired.

Where did this energy come from?  Gentle breeze.  Legs feel strong.  No one else out.  What a nice morning!

Miles pass.

Inevitably, I set a PR for speed or for distance.  The rest of the day goes fine.  What was I worried about?  By the end of the day I don't even remember the lack of sleep so long ago.

This has happened now at least 4 times.

I no longer worry about insomnia.


14 December 2013

No Whining. Running #1

It's not a hill unless you're lifting your legs as high as when you're climbing stairs.  Until then, it's only a fluctuation in grade.  Keep going.