Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Summer of Running

Running is a very different thing than it was a year ago. Well, it is for me anyway. I can't speak for anyone else out there. I'm sure there are a number of you who have loved hitting the pavement on a regular basis for years. I'm sure there are a number of you who wouldn't even consider running unless you were being chased by a bear or a zombie or a zombie bear. For most of my life, I would have placed myself with the latter.

Now I kind of enjoy running. Well, I did. Up until about a month ago. That's when I decided I wouldn't run again until I had a decent pair of running shoes. And when I say "decent," I actually mean good. I wanted a good pair of running shoes. I wanted the kind of running shoes that they sell you in a store that's designed to help people maximize their potential as runners. I'm not trying to toot my own horn and declare that I have a great deal of potential as a runner. But I know there's at least a little potential there, and whatever it is, I want to maximize it.

But have you been to those stores? Do you know how much it costs to get a good pair of running shoes? It's not cheap, and we'll leave it at that. Therefore, I had to wait.

Waiting meant that I would not be forcing myself to keep running. There was a part of me that feared the possibility of injury due to wearing the wrong kind of shoes. I know that was a little irrational, seeing as how I'd been wearing the wrong kind of shoes for every run I'd been on during the previous six months. However, prior to the Monument Avenue 10k, I started to feel a certain amount of pain with each run. It was subtle at first. It steadily got worst. My knees... my back... my shins... It wasn't good.

Then the happy day came when I was able to make the long awaited purchase. I wasn't thrilled with the amount of money I was laying down, but I told myself that it would be worth it. Probably for well over a year.
Aren't they comfortable? You can say yes. 'Cause you can totally tell just by looking at them.

Since coming home with the new shoes, I've been out a few times. I'll be honest, I'm not running the way I'd like. I'd like to be running at the same level I was at back in April, when I did the 10k. That's not happening though. I'm told it'll come back quickly, and I'm hoping the ones that are telling me that are right.

Last night was the first time I went for a run in Bissett Park since April. Things are different now. We're deep into spring, almost summer, and there are a lot of things I really enjoyed about the run that I didn't get during the winter when I would run on the river path.

For one thing, the smells are different. Summertime brings out a lot of great smells: fresh cut grass, honeysuckle, stagnant water from last week's flash flooding, soggy Fritos left behind by some inconsiderate litter bug. Now that I think on it, I should probably find a cleaner place to run. But the honeysuckle was nice.

There are more people in the park, too. Kids playing on the playground. Couples playing tennis. A bunch of overweight white guys attempting to play basketball. I'm really not making fun of them, they play better than I ever could. Also, there are lots of people sharing the pathway. People running, people walking, people on bikes. It's nice because, well, I don't feel so alone.

For a long time, I was running at the crack of dawn on the treadmill at my apartment's fitness center. It was just me in there. It was kind of creepy running while it was so dark and still outside.

Running in the light and warmth of day is so much better.

Being a runner in the summer will be a new experience for me. Who knows? Maybe I'll get a decent tan out of it. Though I doubt it. I'll probably forget to put on sunscreen one day and come back home with a not-so-healthy sunburn. It's what I do.

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