Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Running and Playing
I love this time of year. With the fall marathon behind me, and the 20+ weeks of focus, training, schedule, 20 milers, nutrition, etc. all behind that, it's nice to get out and remember the most important reason why I run. It's fun!
That isn't to say that I'm now just sitting on the couch, drinking Pepsi out of the 2 liter bottle and eating M&M's out of that 'Hefty' trash bag size they sell at Costco (don't ask how I know of such things). I still watch my nutrition and am getting out there and exercising. But there's just less structure to it - especially the running part. It's more 'playing' with running. Enjoying the fitness I built up over the year and feeling like my 3 year old must feel when he runs full speed into the armchair, rolling over the soft padded leather arm, his body twisting in a way that would send me to the ER. Laughing the whole time.
On Saturday, having run out of time during the day, I decided to commute on my road bike to my friend's house for his poker night. It was dark half-way through my ride to his house, and completely dark at 10:30pm when I left for the 17 mile ride home. Light strapped the front, full moon in the crisp fall air. I was absolutely loving the freedom from the steel encasement that I travel in most of the week. Flying through the park, I disturbed a coyote's pursuit of a rabbit. I felt good about that, as did the rabbit. Sorry coyote.
On Sunday my buddy and I met for a trail run in Bear Creek. Leaves falling, cool air, no agenda. We just set out to run 5 or so miles at a pace we could have a conversation at. We talked the whole time, about running, about family, about nothing in general. We played around on some hills, running up and down them with different techniques. Playing to see what worked, what didn't. We meandered through the orange leaf covered trails, with only a general sense of which direction we wanted to head next. For someone that spends 99% of their time running alone, it's a real treat to run with friends.
It's also nice once in a while to 'rest on your laurels' of all the hard work we've put in through the year. It reminds us that the race itself is just a test. The real learning our bodies do is in the months leading up to the race. I read an article that said that most marathon training programs (purposefully)keep the athlete slightly fatigued all the time in a fine balancing act to maximize the training response (blah, blah, blah..). It's nice to back down the training stress to the point where we 'feel' fast and springy.
Of course there is the eventual guilt that sinks in. Yesterday work took over my entire day / evening and I didn't get out for a planned run. While I mentally gave myself the 'pass', emotionally, I felt that I was slacking off and being lazy. And this only 10 days since the marathon. Something tells me my 3 year old doesn't fret too much that he hasn't launched over the arm of the chair in a day or so.
We adults are a funny bunch. We need to remember to run and play.