Archive for the 'musings' Category

The first long run back is always the hardest

Harlem Piers along the Hudson River Parkway

Harlem Piers along the Hudson River Parkway

This past weekend I went on my first long run in several months.  Saturday night I begrudgingly set the alarm and woke up early Sunday morning to gray clouds telling me to go back to bed and sleep in.  Had it been a month ago, had it been the weekend before, I would have heeded those clouds and snuggled back into my bed in my air conditioned bedroom.  But last month, the prior weekend even I was not in training and this weekend, I’m afraid I am.

For the last 8 months (wow! has it been that long?!) I have been running without a race on my horizon.  I usually run a half-marathon in the spring but frankly, after the NYC Marathon this past 2008, I was exhausted and wanted to try running without training.  This was the first time I’ve ever really run semi-regularly with out the promise of a race.

I must admit, I found it completely liberating!  I took off the watch and GPS and just ran! I stopped logging my runs and paid no attention to how long it took, how fast I was going, and I walked when I needed to walk.  Running became for the first time, a true stress relief.  I even brought my iPod along a few times! When I missed a run, I didn’t feel guilty for slacking on my training schedule, I just felt lousy.  My body started to crave the runs in a way it never had before! Running became my salvation, the time to truly decompress and work out anxiety.  Not that I didn’t have these benefits before while training, but when the sole purpose of the run was for stress relief and not because my training schedule said I had too, the benefits were all the more rewarding.  I was like a kid who decided to research something not for school but out of genuine interest.

The downfall of this type of free running was consistency.  Sure I wanted to run every day or every other day, but when days became full and projects piled up, running (along with sleep!) was the first to get cut.  As a freelance musician, my daily schedule varies.  I aim for structure but when a job comes in that requires everything to be dropped in order to meet the deadline, I drop everything, sit at the computer for unheard of hours in a row ignoring nutrition, sleep, and to some degree, hygiene (ew, gross!).  While the best thing for me very well would be to get out and run, I just can’t tear myself away from the work, unless of course, I am in training.  Then the running takes a higher priority (though I wholeheartedly feel it should always be given that high priority, I just have a hard time enforcing it.)

So now, in the midst of new projects, I am in training again, and my running is becoming consistent again.  The race? The Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon at VA Beach.  I, along with Races in Places co-founder and recent Spain runner JuliaHart have run this race every year since it’s inaugural race in 2001.  Admittingly, I am a little late to start training for a half, but this race has historically been more of a “fun run” than a competitive one.  The higher purpose being for me and JuliaHart to see each other and catch up (we live quite a distance apart) rather than beat a PR.  This race also serves as a great jump start to fall marathon training.  It basically announces the beginning of the fall and the return to training.  This is a fantastic race which we will definitely be posting about in the near future.  Which leads me to one final point…

Now that I’ve returned to focused running, I hope to return to maintaining this blog.  I feel very passionate about creating a place for ordinary runners to share their running stories, taking its readers on a virtual road trip around the world.  I truly believe that running, even more so than music, is a universal language that we can use to understand and appreciate each other’s various lifestyles and cultures, be it the difference between living and running in the southern vs. northern states of America, or far more reaching areas of our world.

And so encourage you readers to share your stories here, spread the word, and happy return to training!

Run hard but not too fast to enjoy the scenery!!


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