Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gulf Shores, where are you?

I know it's only a few days into the snowy weather and a few days before the first day of winter, but I miss summer.

Back during my college running days, we used to imagine all the snow was the white sandy beaches of Florida. Two signs I'm getting older.

1) I haven't run outside since the first flake fell.

2) No amount of imagination can tempt me to think nature just dumped a few inches of hot beach sand on everything.

Today I am holed up in a drafty library, staring out at all the white stuff, and I can't imagine this snow and cold away. In fact, I'm having trouble imagining anything. Instead, I sit and long for Gulf Shores and August's sunshine.

Monday, December 8, 2008

For Ashley

I run on the Deschutes River Trail at Farewell Bend Park nearly every day. A couple of months ago, I made a pact with myself to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And for the first time in years, I started a regular running routine. I don't get discouraged when I miss a day. Or a whole week.

When I made that pact, I decided to change the entire way I think about running. I have long identified myself as a runner, even when I was clearly not running. And instead of always thinking about the runner I once was, I wanted to become a different kind of runner. A runner who doesn't care about mile splits and 5k PRs. My new running goal was to get outside. To spent 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week in the sun (or the rain).

I've bumped up my running. Last week I made it to the trail every day. The loop varies from 3 to 3.5 miles. And I'm not ashamed to walk. My knee hurts sometimes, but that doesn't stop me. I run as long as I can, but I insist on listening to what my knees and joints tell me. And sometimes, my knee says, "Can we please just walk today?" So we do.

If my phone rings while I'm on the trail, I answer it. If a bird catches my eye, I stop to watch. Today a group of ducks wandered across the path in front of me. Even though I run the same loop nearly every day, it never gets old. Every day is new. I can't wait to see what will happen on the trial tomorrow.