Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chugging Along, Being Noticed, Reaching Out

Today was another very cold day in Baltimore.  So, I ran at the YMCA this morning.  I stepped on the scale afterwards and weighed in at 157.  That was very reassuring for me, but I will definitely try the scale again a couple times next week to see if I am really under 160.

The distance was a short (for me) 5.5 miles.  I did 1/2 mile at 8 min/mile to warm up and then did 5 miles at 7 min/mile.  That was all I had time for this morning in my "tempo on the treadmill".  That takes me up to 137.9 miles for the year.  And it leaves me still on US 30 in southern Pennsylvania.  Following through an area where there really aren't any towns per se but there are lots of trees and farms.

This will end up being a weak that i like a "pull back" week.  But it won't be a thoroughly strategically planned pull back week.  (A friend had asked me if I planned any pull back weeks in my quest for 2000 miles last week.)  But it will be a pull back week driven by things like the weather and other non-running responsibilities.  

What was interesting about today as I move along toward my 2000 mile goal?  When I was dressed in my winter coat, sweatpants, and other cold weather gear after my run, I went to Giant.  Today's grocery list included orange juice, chocolate (including one with chili), some breakfast sausage, and some biscuits to be baked.  I made sausage gravy using my Uncle Ray's basic recipe that he had shared recently.  It was really good.  It made both breakfast and dinner for me and breakfast for one son, too.  And it seems like the sort of thing someone might find at a little dinner in the area my virtual pilgrimage is taking me through right now.  

But the trip to Giant and what I will remember it for was about more than what was on the grocery list for today.  It was also about the fact that the cashier pleasantly greeted me (as she almost always does) and the one guy employee who commented on the fact that I was in sweats (he often sees me in shorts after a run even in the winter).  He has really taken notice of the fact that I am a runner.  Though I don't know his name (and I don't think he knows mine) we are connected because of my running.

That sense of connection is something that came up in another way today.  Now that we are nearly a month into the new year, I decided that it was time to check in with a number of friends.  These are friends to whom I am connected by running, or by knowing them since middle school, or in one case a friendship that literally goes all the way back to third grade.  These are people with whom I have been in touch over the past year and the years before sharing things about life.  Sometimes more frequently.  Sometimes less frequently.  But the passing of two people at my church in the past several months has really gotten to me (and I have written about them both).  Some people are taken from the world very suddenly, very unexpectedly, and at an age that we consider too young.  What that reminds me of is the importance of staying in touch.

Running can help stay in touch.

Email can help stay in touch.

Of course, actually spending time together helps people stay in touch.

And this weekend, I will have interesting time with my wife and oldest son as we take him for an audition and spend time together learning about the opportunities that may be available to him.

Running.  Pondering.  Connecting.  Reaching out.  Being there.  

Having a circle of friends and family for whom I do that and who do the same for me makes my world a better place.   

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