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Back on the Road

I got up this morning with no plans at all, except for the already executed plan to sleep in.  We made it to almost 6:30, and that felt good.  We had been up a few hours.  I had eaten breakfast, written post cards and noodled around on Facebook for a while when I suddenly made the decision to go running.

The decision came about because my sister, Victoria, commented that I would probably like yoga because of the spiritual aspect of it as well as the “just you” time, although she supposed running did that for me “but with fewer distractions”.  I commented back that running was ALL about distractions.  A drill sergeant in Army Basic Training told me that was the secret to running: you just kept finding things to distract yourself from how much it sucked (I further learned that the other secret was to keep going despite the suckiness, but right now we’re talking about distractions).

Isn’t it funny how one minute you’re talking about how much a thing sucks and the next minute you’re hustling up the stairs to get properly dressed and do it.  The fact is that there are great periods of time during which running does not suck.  In fact, it is pretty enjoyable.  I hoped for one of those periods today.

One reason for my hope is that it was warmer than it has been.  It was almost warm enough for shorts and short-sleeves, although I set a lower temperature for that outfit than many others.  I went with leggings and long-sleeves because it was borderline and I have not been running outdoors.  I still wore my toque. I do like my toque.

Before I left the driveway I was questioning the wisdom of my decision.  Quite icy.  The sidewalks did not look much better.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of sneakers, because I was certain there would be puddles.  It turns out things were still pretty frozen.  It was only about 9:20 a.m.  No matter, I was outside in my toque.  I was running.

I took the nearly unprecedented step (get it, running, step?) of running in the road.  I’ve addressed this issue before. I do not like running in the road myself and I do not approve of it in others (yes, yes, I know, my approval is not necessary for anybody, so you needn’t get all hoity-toity and self-justifying).  At least I was on the left side facing traffic.  Perhaps traffic would not be too harsh at 9:20 on a Saturday morning.

And it wasn’t too bad, even on German Street.  I ran all the way down to the traffic light next to the high school.  I had originally had some thought of running up the hill by Valley Health and into the residential area beyond (what I call the suburbs).  After all, there were no sidewalks in that area, so I did not have to feel self-conscious about breaking my own rule.  Then I decided I would did not want to take such a long run.  After all, I am easing back into it.  The only runs I have taken in the past few weeks have been in place on the mini-tramp.

I was happy to get off German and into the quieter streets.  Here traffic was light enough that I could run closer to the center of the road, which was the place where I was least likely to encounter any ice.  It was kind of annoying when a car would be coming and I would have to get over to the edge of the road where there would be ice, a puddle, or an icy puddle.  However, I did not meet with any mishaps.

At a few points I noticed stretches of sidewalk that were perfectly clear.  I felt a little bad about that.  I really do prefer to run on the sidewalk.  Then again, it seemed silly to switch back and forth.  Then again, a little detour often burns more calories.  I saw a clearish patch and ran up a driveway to the sidewalk.  So far so good.  Then my foot slipped and I said, “To hell with that,” and got back on the road.

It was not a super long run, but I felt it was long enough to count as a run.  I also took a cool-down walk almost all the way around the block.  As I walked, I felt elated.  I did not think I had run hard enough or long enough to get any of those endorphins I keep hearing about, but a joyous voice in my head declared, “This was a GOOD idea!”  As I cut through the parking lot of the apartment building on the end of my street (remember, I said almost all the way around the block), I realized that running in the road had been a good idea too.  If I had tried even a shuffley jog there I would have landed on my tuckus or a less padded  part.

I felt pretty bad-ass after my run.  I felt, as I often do, “Yeah, I’m back.”  I hope I stay back this time.  For me, it’s a good idea to keep running.


4 responses »

  1. Glad I read this and the great article in NYTimes — today? yesterday? — about all of the beautiful things running (long-distance versus sprint/interval) does for you brain. Neuron-tastic!

  2. Traffic or ice? What a choice! Sounds treacherous, but there is something special about running outside on cold mornings like this. Well done for getting out there and getting it done – you total badass, you! 😉


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