I used to be a runner and though I was never very fast I did accomplish most of my running goals, met a lot of great people, had fun (mostly) and didn’t gain (much) weight. Used to be are the operative words here. Most of you know I was training for a half marathon last summer and early fall when I sustained a stress fracture to my foot. I haven’t really run since last October. It has begun to occur to me that it will soon be October again and if I don’t get moving I’ll have been a nonrunner for a whole year! So I’ve been going out sporadically, running a mile from my house using the “run a minute, walk a minute” method in an attempt to avoid injury.
The problem is that my one mile “runs” are slower than I used to walk a mile. This is disheartening. So much energy expended for so little distance covered in such a slow time. I know that running is all a mental game, and here I am beating myself up because I can’t immediately do the things I did five years ago when I was in marathon shape. I know I need to get over what I used to be able to do and just enjoy what I can do now. For instance here’s what I saw on my one mile run/walk:
- A doe contentedly munching something along the side of the road. When I rounded the corner in my speedy, silent, efficient way…wait..oh yea, that was how I USED to run… ahem…when I slogged my way around the corner huffing and puffing, feet skidding on the gravel she glanced up and gracefully bounded away into the golden green woods.
- The two yellow horses at the end of the road, my turn around point, looked up from their feeding to watch me as I sped by. Bored they went back to their breakfast as soon as I turned around.
- I stopped (HEY! It was during one of my WALK breaks, OK?!) to pick a perfect wild black raspberry that had been growing along the side of the road. After eating it I wondered about the numerous dogs that are walked along this road and whether or not one of them might have…well…I distracted myself by the beginning of the next minute of running.
My mile was, for the first time since I began to run again this summer, 12 seconds faster than my fastest walked mile of years gone by! HEY! So OK, I’m not ever going to be speedy, but I never was speedy, and today I was speedier than I was last week. Accomplishment!
Then I took a 3 minute cool down walk and saw:
- A little green heron sitting in the dead branches of a big cottonwood tree. I heard the familiar screeching behind me and saw two more flying. The one in the tree stretched out his neck to watch the two that were flying. I wonder if the one in the tree was the youngster of the other two, waiting for dinner. While I watched the flying ones never attempted to land in the tree, so who knows.
- The family of Canadian geese, mom and dad and two little ones that are all grown up. This is the family that so defiantly defended their nest in the neighbor’s driveway last spring. Guess they made it!
- A male bluebird swooping low over another neighbor’s yard in a search for tasty bugs, the sun glowing on his back.
- A little rabbit hopping across the road in front of me. We haven’t seen many rabbits this year, and we’ve heard a red fox in the backyard at night. Correlation?
- The usual jumble of jays, finches, woodpeckers, robins, cardinals all flying around and singing on this fine Sunday morning.
When I got home it was obvious Katie was mad at me by her sulky face when I walked in the door, and by the fact that my pajama bottoms were in the middle of the living room slightly the worse for being chewed on. I’m sure she meant to say “Welcome home Mom! Good job on getting out there and getting that mile done!”
Of course that’s what she meant.