The blog’s been pretty serious lately, full of lots of weighty subjects: news and more news.
But I know what’s really been on everyone’s minds. You’ve all been wondering, just how the heck is that blogging guy’s plantar anyway?
I know, I know: a lot of stuff is going on. The election in France is underway, the presidential race is on in the U.S., Alberta is holding an important vote this evening. Your jobs are crazy, you’re all training like maniacs for your next big race.
And yet, you can hardly stay focused because you just have to know the latest on my plantar, and I haven’t written about it for so darn long.
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Things are finally looking up. On the weekend I did back-to-back runs for a total of 27 km. In the last nine weeks, it’s only the second time I’ve managed to enjoy consecutive running days – if “enjoy” is the right word.
Truth be told, it’s tough getting back to it. It’s not like I just sat around and stuffed my face with chocolate eclairs for nine weeks. I worked out on the spin bike three or four times a week, 60 to 90 minutes at a time, did weights and so forth. Nothing equates to running except running, though.
I ran easy both days. Saturday’s was one of those that stick with you for a long time. I ran with a friend, who after a winter of hard biathlon races is building base mostly in the fat-burning zone. His relaxed pace kept me from doing something boneheaded (almost always the first and most immediate thing I do, I can assure you) like charging out hard.
Instead, we loped around the 13 km route known as the St. Mary’s loop that covers a stone-crushed trail in Fredericton and runs alongside a tree-lined river. The scenery and conversation made up for the gray day.
Sunday’s run was a bit different. The weather forecast called for “light rain.” Four kilometres into our run, a drenching downpour came from the right and completely soaked me through to the skin. With the temperature sitting right at zero, stopping wasn’t an option. I’d tighten up and freeze. As it was, when I reached home, I immediately plunged myself into a hot bath, relieved to feel the heat spread through me and put a halt to my shivering.
Coming back is never easy. I’ve done it before. It takes time, perseverance and, mostly, a good attitude.
Author, magazine writer and marathoner Matt Fitzgerald wrote extensively about the role of happiness in running in his most recent book, Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel. He devoted an entire chapter to the role of enjoyment in running and titled it Run Happy. Fitzgerald writes, “Always trust that the more you enjoy your running, the better you will run.”
Sure, that sounds like a truism, but Fitzgerald backs it up with a lot of thought and data to arrive at that conclusion. Myself, I found out about happiness and running a couple of weekends ago as I tested my foot to see how everything felt.
It was while I was on the trail returning from the university farm, normally a route I love, that I discovered how quickly you can turn things around. I was about seven km in, way too overdressed, plodding along, out of breath – in short, looking like anything but a runner. Sweat soaked my clothing and I had that tunnel vision that occurs when you’re tired and just thinking about finishing.
Negative thoughts filled my head: what the hell was I doing? I’m hot, tired and not enjoying myself at all. This is just crap. And then, suddenly, it came to me that just hours ago I’d been whining about how I couldn’t run at all and how much I missed it, and here I was doing the very thing I’d wanted to do so badly.
I paused, stripped off my jacket, tied it around my waist, pushed up the sleeves of my shirt and set off again, this time with a much lighter step. By the time I hit the paved portion of the path, I was flying. I was running, running without thinking, without a care, just running, running, running for the love of it.