Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Week of Runs

This week has been quite a week for running.  I started last Sunday with just two miles with my dog to end a light weekend that was at the end of a light week.  The weather on Saturday was not conducive to running from or in my neighborhood in the early morning.  I know some of my Baltimore running family still participated in an abbreviated version of a traditional solstice-time 5-miler in the city, but I could not even get out of the neighborhood safely on Saturday morning.  So, I divided what was supposed to be a 5K on Saturday into a run that took both Saturday and Sunday and used my Yak Trax to help me be safe.

Monday was my one day a week with Back on My Feet with some time with my dog to help me get in a little extra mileage.  On that particular morning, I had the opportunity to lead a group on an easy to follow course.  I enjoy running with a mix of non-res volunteers and res members. 

Tuesday is normally my day with my most frequent training partner for four years now, Lauren.  This week, I traded days so that I could run with my newest running partner, Nicole, on Tuesday.  We did a nice run by the harbor on the promenade. It was a relief that it was not as cold as the run just four days earlier on a very cold Friday morning.  We had a solid run from Canton to Harbor East and I dropped her off at Conkling to complete the run and checked in afterwards to make sure she got home safely (I do that for all my training partners. I added in some distance with my dog and a holiday light run with Back on My Feet.

Wednesday included miles with my training partner of just over one year (Kristen) with whom I run faster than with any other training partner.  When she asked how I was doing I said okay and she said it was not every convincing.  Despite having had a great year overall there is a lot of change and there are a lot of new challenges coming in 2017.  It is not bad.  Just a lot of change that I have to prepare for.  And I’m not 100% sure that I am prepared.  That was a useful stress-relieving run. 

Thursday was supposed to be a run with Lauren, but she had had a fever and was less than 100%.  So, I ended up running a little distance with my dog and then finishing off by myself.  It took me up around the Towson University campus.  I saw a group of six deer on the campus and ran a little out into the street so that they just watched me.  Their heads even turned from one side to the other as I ran past.  While I was running I had The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams and the Coventry Carol running through my head.  A song about unity despite differences and one of the most mellow (perhaps morose) Christmas carols.  Why?  I don’t know.  I felt the joy of running.  I felt the freedom of running.  But I had tension in my soul.  All the more reason to get out there and run for stress relief.

Friday, I finally did get in my run with Lauren.  It was an easy ten on her first day back to running since Tuesday as she prepares to get back into the swing of marathon training for Nashville in the spring.  I got a total of twelve that morning.  And in the time with Lauren, we had a great conversation.  That was a different form of stress relief—my third form of the week.  Sometimes a little of each is a good thing—running hard, running alone, running with a long conversation. 

Saturday, I missed running on Christmas Eve as I had forgotten how late it gets light when we are vacationing as a family on the mountain and I had other responsibilities to get to.

So, this morning with just under 38 miles to go to my goal for the year, I started with the idea of running 12 alone.  I began with a run up the mountain in one direction.  I saw a group of three deer early in the run.  Much to my surprise after going up and then going out and back on all the areas with condo units on our section of the mountain I had already accumulated four miles.  Then, I went out to the overlook on the mountain.  That includes nearly a mile of continuous ascent.  I went slowly but continued running the entire time.  It felt good knowing how much I had walked during Comrades.  The stresses of the week were gone.  I didn’t have much of anything other than “finish” running through my mind.  Today was just about enjoying being out there.  The cool but not cold weather.  The fog and then sun.  The hills.  And getting done.

So, this has been quite a week for running.  All the aspects of what I look for in running.  Time with all but two of my regular training partners.  Each run with a slightly different meaning.  And each day with new insight. 

I am lucky.

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