How about a Sunday Running Commentary in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday? I got out of bed this morning thinking I would not run but after a cup of coffee talked myself into it. As Steven pointed out, it is a beautiful day. I do love running in the morning and weekends are the only times I can do it (unless I run at 3 a.m., which is not the same thing).
As I ran out the end of my driveway, I saw the peonies in my front lawn were blooming. I paused oh so briefly to sniff at them. What a wonderful scent! I flashed back to springs and summers of my childhood, when my Mom had a large peony bush (she still has it). I made up my mind I would smell any peonies I encountered on the run.
I was expecting my legs to start complaining as usual, but they did not. Score! I crossed German Street and headed for Main, where there is a nice hill. Yesterday I ran the hill by Valley Health, so I am working my way up to the hill to Herkimer College. My current goal is to be ready for the Falling Leaves Run in September, which is 14K and I believe has several hills. I should make it handily, if I don’t fall off the running wagon.
At the end of Main Street I saw a sign, “Road Closed, Local Traffic Only.” I added in my head, “And Cindy Running.” The hill was not much fun, I admit, but I persevered till the top. It is kind of nice to be less than seven minutes into your run and have the big hill out of the way. As I made my way back down to German, I wondered where else to run. Today should have been the day for me to add the weekly ten percent to my run time, making it 29 minutes. When I talked myself into running, it was with the proviso that I would not necessarily have to do that (as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, tomorrow is another day). I was at this point undecided.
When I got to German Street, the sight of peonies decided me: I crossed German and ran down Harley Street. The peonies were pink and white, several bushes stretching almost a block long. I sniffed four or five blooms, making very short pauses to do so, nothing like the stops I make to pet dogs. Incidentally, I did not see any dogs. More dedicated runners may shake their heads and opine that I will never improve my run time if I stop while running, but I do not care at all. I like to smell flowers and I like to pet dogs.
My legs felt fine but my breathing was a little ragged. I concentrated on breathing in slowly and holding the air in for a second or two. I heard this advice from a fellow soldier, who had heard it from a Native American drill sergeant of his. He said it stood to reason: you hold the air in so it has time to do your body some good. It helped. I started to feel thirsty so thought of running to the spring and taking a drink. How long would that take me? Would I run 29 minutes after all?
I turned in the direction of the spring, keeping an eye on the time. It soon became clear that I could not make it all the way to the spring and back. That was OK, because as usual I had a bottle of ice water waiting for me on my deck. I figured times in my head, changed my mind a few times, going up one street and down another. Ooh, more peonies, sniff, sniff. It came to me that I was GOING to make it for 29 minutes and it was NOT going to be a problem! I felt GREAT! I could run for DAYS! Yes!
As I walked my cool-down, I said to a neighbor, “I’ll tell you what, running four days in a row is the Way to Go. I feel awesome!”
“There you go,” he said.
“Which I did NOT feel the last three days,” I added. It is wonderful to prove things to yourself. When I have to persevere through a bad run, I always tell myself, you have to get through the bad runs to get to the good ones. Today was definitely a good run.