Archive for the ‘1000 Miles’ Category
“What’s in like to run in Paris?” friends sometimes ask.
Paris is one of those places that has a certain reputation. It has an identity that’s known around the world. But like with anything, there’s an identity that we see from the outside and the one we see from the inside.
When you live in a place you come to know that inner identity. You live the everyday things that no one ever talks about outside of that place, and that’s particularly true when it comes to Paris. Because who would be silly enough to criticize Paris?
Hills and altitude.
If I had to sum up the fifth month of 1,000 Miles, that would be it. Hills and altitude. There were a lot of both of them.
During the last month I was home in the US, so running meant taking on the hills in Forest Park in Portland (a reunion run for the 1,000 Miles trio), a thigh-burn inducing uphill climb by my parents’ house in Washington, and making my best attempt at emulating a mountain goat on trails around Telluride, Colorado.
Realization: I have much more training to do before I become a mountain goat.
Running takes time.
Any passion or project that we have requires time, but that time doesn’t appear out of thin air; we have to make that time. This is no news, but committing to running a certain number of miles a week means carving out space for a daily workout routine.
From the outside perspective this may seem tough. In fact, I have many friends that have said something along the lines of “man, that much take up so much of your time… I couldn’t do that” (note: yes, it does, and yes, yes you could). We’re all busy, and the thought of devoting at least an hour, sometimes two, almost every day is daunting to most. But the beauty of it is that eventually it becomes a habit. Skipping a run feels odd and disconcerting. It simply isn’t an option.
Usually when I talk about running I get really excited. Depending on how good the last run was I may get that moderately crazy look in my eyes. And I get excited when I sit down to write about it (proof: Month 1 and Month 2 recaps).
But March didn’t really have any of that. In fact I’m hesitant to even write a recap of the month because it felt like I barely ran at all. Instead, the knees said “you need to take a break!”
Because I’m not training for a marathon, or an ultra trail run, or a triathlon, the potential of an injury hadn’t really crossed my mind. Sure, I was intent on running a little more than usual, but not that much. But then the knees started hurting. Not in a “I am about to break” kind of way, but in a “hi! you better pay attention to us or we will break” kind of way.
So I did what any runner would do: got out the foam roller. I also added in a routine of sun salutations every morning. And some squats. In other words, I started doing all of those things that I knew I should have been doing from the get-go, but just hadn’t got around to.
Which got me thinking: how often does this happen to us in life in general?
It was yet another dark, gray, rainy morning. The alarm went off. I pressed snooze, and then snooze again. Finally I got into that window of “if you don’t get up at this very second your whole morning routine is going to be off” time and I dragged myself out of bed. The run was hard. Harder than I wanted to admit. I was tired and slow. But I kept the “remember how good you will feel afterwards” mantra. It was really all I could do to keep going.
If you think that running a lot makes running easier, it doesn’t. Well ok, it sort of does. But even when you run a lot, running is still hard.
Let me explain.
“Yes!” was my initial reaction.
Then came the second.
“Shit, that’s less than I should have run…”
When I first committed to the 1,000 Miles thing (yes, running 1,000 miles in 2014) I did some quick calculating.
Running 100 miles a month would put me over the 1,000 mile mark, meaning if I clocked a few months with 100 miles I would have some leeway. I then went to a calculator and figured out that what I really needed to do was hit about 20 miles a week, or about 80 miles a month. Doable, but after a month of not running I needed to work my way back up.
When you move (and the move is far far away) there are things you end up missing that you don’t initially expect. You expect to miss impromptu coffee dates with your friends and you expect to miss your favorite restaurants. You expect to miss your favorite bookstore and, if you’re moving away from the Pacific Northwest, you expect to miss weekend hikes and trips to the coast.
I expected all of this when I moved last year. I use the word “move” lightly because it was really a one-way-ticket kind of trip that was intended to end eventually but never did. Sometimes that’s how things go.
Back to the story of missing things. The one hole I really felt in my life last year was running.
Oh, I ran, but it was different.
In Portland, I had my running partner (and Running Partner is really just a short title for friend/therapist/sounding board/general motivator) Megan, and we had gotten into a semi-neurotic habit of getting up for what we liked to call “Rise and Run.” This meant hitting the pavement at 6:30am – sometimes 6 if one of us had an early meeting and didn’t want to miss out on a run.