Having logged two consecutive big(ish) weeks of training (95 & 108 miles) I entered this week with the intention to be watchful of my body, energy levels, and sleep. With less than 2 weeks to Lake Sonoma 50, training wisely and patiently has become increasingly important. So I ran based on feel and with every intention to enjoy the miles; and if something was tight- I was committed to stop and stretch; and if the legs were heavy and I was tired- no running. I also went to the gym a couple times and did my trustee ol’ injury prevention and core routine. I got frustrated with this plan a few times during the week; I filmed a video on Hill Bounding and completely trashed my legs. Although I felt great the entire 3 hours of filming; I felt sluggish and tired the two days to follow- dang IIB fast twitch muscle fibers!
Today (Sunday) I planned for another rest day, so when I awoke, I went about my house chores but the beautiful blue sky was beckoning. I considered; if any, negative effects of going on a run and then did a few assessments on myself. I seemed okay for a short run if I promised to run slow and stop and stretch when needed. A quick change and I was on the trails smiling in the sunshine- so happy…and oh so sluggish!
The first 4 miles of what ended up being an 18 mile run were just sloggy. I must have stopped at least 6 times. Doing dynamic and static stretches and exercises on the side of the trail. At one point I was standing on a picnic table doing dynamic calf stretches and 2 minute ITband stretches. Sure I looked a little silly to the dozens of hikers and mountain bikers that passed through- I chuckled at myself a few times- as I’ve learned to not take myself too seriously- even when the toddlers started waving at me…clearly I looked like a cartoon character?? As I started out on mile 5 my legs suddenly loosened up and then I was greeted with a 600 foot climb which actually felt really good. I ran every step slowly, winding higher until I reached the top and turned to see a spectacular view of my city…mountains bordering all around and miles of green hills and winding trails. I paused for a few minutes to take it all in…streteched a bit and began considering exactly where I was. Just an hour before I was scrubbing the counters in my kitchen and now I was standing on top of a hill in the sunshine. I didn’t care about my pace; mileage, or even the upcoming race…it was, what I imagine many trail runners and outdoor enthusiasts stop to consider every now and then…”Look where I am…look what I get to do…this is beautiful…I want to savor it…I’m so thankful my body can do this…” I went on to run another 12 miles- ignoring my watch, saying hi and smiling at every passerby- and meditating on the ability that had been given to me.
Every now and then people ask me how it is that I don’t get bored or tired of running…and this is one of the ways- I pause and I allow myself to take it all in; to survey the value of what I get to do–of where I am; and it immediately enlivens me. I think whatever your passion, whatever you do day in and day out boredom or the effects of the mundane are bound to happen; but I challenge you to counter it with a “Pause”….what is good about what you’re doing? Are you thankful? But more simply…how often do you actually stop to think about where you are, what you’re doing…where you’re going…and all that you have?
There’s always so much to be thankful for and today as I paused on my run, I was reminded to remain in that state no matter how I’m feeling; whether, strong, fast, tired…even injured.
Take a moment to Pause today-to “Be Still” and if it’s on a run…don’t overlook the value in “pausing” to take in that view.