Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Running Through Streams but Avoiding Puddles

This morning, I had a wonderful Christmas Eve run.  I was out at just about 5:30 and back at just about 7:15 after a half marathon distance run.  You can see the results.  I ran at just over an 8 minute mile pace.  I am glad that I am in good enough shape to continue to go out on any given day and run a pace that is faster than the one at which I ran my 2009 half marathon--my first race.  And my ability to race at that pace should last well into the future.  I just enjoy being able to workout at a pace I once raced at.  

The course this morning was a winding one that I made up as I went along.  That seems to be the order of the day for me most of the time at this point.  I ran down my street and over to Northwood, out to Northern, up the Alameda, across Regester, on Loch Raven to Meridene, around the Mars and Post Office, back on Northern Parkway to Loch Raven, all the way down to the Alameda again, over to 33rd, back to Loch Raven, down to 25th, up to Cold Spring, across to Charles, up to Gittings, back to Bellona, across Cedarcroft, and then wound around my neighborhood to get the 13.1  It was a very enjoyable run.  Temps in the low to mid-40's from start to finish and ran off and on and of varying intensities.

I had decided to run in shorts (you can see how wet the hair on my leg was after the run).  But I also had on a cap and a pair of gloves and a light weight and loose fitting long sleeve shirt.  You can see the picture of my outfit, too.  That is not my happiest post-run look ever, but I was very satisfied with the outcome.  And I was happy to sport my Heather Hurd 5K shirt--a run that have done for four years now to support the cause of trying to end distracted driving and how it destroys dreams.

While I was running I got to thinking.  (Nothing new there.)  I am someone who on courses that are supposed to involve water crossing, particularly with streams, love to run through streams.  I am not much of a trail runner, but when the opportunity arises, I do enjoy stream crossing.  Particularly when the stream is shallow.

But this is at least the second morning this week I have run with lots of rain and many puddles of standing water.  The interesting thing is this--yesterday I hit a few "foot drenching" but not ankle twisting puddles.  This morning for the first six miles, I continued to try to avoid puddles for the first six miles.

But then it hit me!  If I run through streams, why avoid puddles.  The streams are bigger.  The streams are wider.  The streams are often deeper.  So why avoid a puddle that will cause a splash but I'll be past in one--or at most two--steps when in the bigger scheme of things the puddle is fairly small.

I think there are several reasons.  Often when I am running through streams I expect it.  That, of course, is easily solved for puddles by realizing that nearly any day when it is raining consistently there are going to be puddles of standing water.  I can expect them.

Second, I often run through streams when it is warmer.  That argument only goes so far on a morning like this one because the temperature was warmer than during most of the Philadelphia Marathon.  Granted, I was running a 7:15 average rather than an 8:01 average, but it wasn't that cold.

Third, I think is the number.  Usually when there is a stream crossing there is just one.  Or at most two.  There are lots of puddles of standing water in north Baltimore.  So perhaps it is a matter of just not wanting to splash and get wet a lot of times.

Finally, maybe it is the unknown.  I generally run through streams when it it light.  Today it was pre-dawn with sometimes poor street lighting.  And there are definitely times when at the bottom of a puddle there might be an opportunity twist an ankle.  Maybe it is the uncertainty of how deep the puddle is.  Will it be a little splash or a huge splash making the water go half way or more up my calf to Irene's head?  

What is most interesting to me is the question of whether this is a representation of something larger in life.  The streams are like big issues.  The puddles are like smaller ones.  I anticipate and tend to deal with big issues.  I sometimes avoid smaller ones or hope that they will just go away.  And sometimes they do.

But as I approached the end of mile 7, I switched from doing everything possible to avoid puddles to just going through.  And it made the run simpler.  And it made life easier.  So maybe there is a lesson to be learned--just take things on.  And see what happens.  Things will probably be easier.  The problems will be dealt with.  And I can move on.  

P.S. Those 13.1 miles bring me to 2192.3 for the year.  I am 29.9 miles away from my final goal.  It has been quite a year with seven mornings left. 

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