Friday, April 5, 2013

A sad, slow run ... but it was a run

This is NOT Robb.
The latest chapter in my erratic Running life started this morning, alive and full of optimism, the open road in front of me. And like every other chapter that has come before, I'm hoping this is the one that includes a triumphant climax where the hero (that's me) emerges triumphant, arms in the air, crossing some kind of finish line, loved ones all around, and in the end I jog off into the sunset having found not only running bliss, but also the secret to avoiding the usual pitfalls that throws me back onto the couch.

But I'm fearful. I know myself too well. And I know how so many other chapters have ended.

I was there when one chapter ended with me stepping on a walnut, rolling my ankle and hobbling a mile and a half home, walking gingerly through the rest of the day and applying ice whenever convenient.

I was there a few months later when, in a eerily similar freak accident, I stepped on a fallen tree branch and did the same sorry limp home (in those days, I was running early mornings, before sunrise). This one came with an added twist: later that day, while interviewing some people who were starting up a new business, the pain had gotten so bad that I could put almost no weight on it, and I limped and winced out of there in what may have been one of my most unprofessional moments on the job. From there I called in to work and took the rest of the day off.

I was there the countless times it just became inconvenient to run, or so it seemed. I was just too tired. I had too much to do. The kids had stuff they had to get to -- by way of dad driving them there. For whatever reason, I put it off. 

And I was there when, sad to say, I was just too damn lazy to get it done. These are the chapters that are hardest to look back on. It's understandable that if you roll your ankle, you're going to be sidelined for a while. But so many more times the running has stopped because of nothing more than sheer laziness.

These days, I've got a few more reasons to run than I had 10 years ago (the last time I was an avid runner.) My cholesterol, recently pulled back from the danger zone, will always be an issue for me. Running helps with that. I'm also going through some serious back pain issues. My guess is that gaining weight hasn't helped (my BMI is so embarrassingly high that I refuse to share it here). Plus, I ain't getting any younger. A slovenly, sedentary lifestyle may be a poor choice when you're in your 20s, but it can be downright dangerous in your 40s. I need to make this permanent.

Running isn't for everyone. I understand that. A lot of people simply don't like it, never have. There are plenty of other ways to get in shape or live a healthful lifestyle. For me, though, there's just something very primal, very natural about running. It's something humans have been doing forever -- whether they were running from a saber-toothed tiger or chasing a mate (or running from a mate, as it were.) When I'm running, I feel stronger. For that 30 or 40 minutes (or 45 or 60 back when I was in better shape) you feel a kind of connection to the world around you that's hard to replicate with any other activity. There's no equipment, no tools, nothing. Just me, my shoes, my drive and the road. When I'm done, I have more energy the rest of the day. When I think about all these things, it makes we wonder why it's so hard to get out there.

Well, today I got out there. It wasn't great. I was slow. I walked a lot. But I got out there. It didn't hurt that the latest issue of Runner's World arrived in my mailbox yesterday. That magazine has a way of inspiring me to want to run. And I'm hoping I can stick with it this time. Those same forces that always get in the way are still there, but I'm hoping I can overcome them and everything else, and hopefully get that triumphant running chapter I've been searching for.


  1. Way to go Robb! Our biggest obstacle is ourselves! Keep up with the running!

  2. Fellow erratic runner on the rebound here, how far did you end up running? And have you set any goals?

  3. Thanks, Heidi!

    And to the fellow erratic runner: I ran roughly 2 miles. My goals are quite simple. I just want to be a regular runner again. About 10 years ago, the last time I was in shape, I'd run 4-6 miles about 4 times a week on my lunch hour. Sometimes I'd do longer runs, 8-10 miles, although I don't think I ever ran more than 10. I felt good, though. And I'd really like to feel good again.