Running Hard

I had been looking forward to this morning’s run. It was going to be my vindication for having such a hard run on Monday. And although it wasn’t as hard as Monday’s run, it was not the joyful experience for which I had prepared. I tossed and turned a lot last night, and woke up hungry. I stayed in bed later than I wanted, not sleeping, just clinging to my pillow and wishing for hours more sleep while at the same time holding it at bay so I didn’t oversleep. After a tense ten minutes or so I dragged myself away and stumbled into the bathroom. As I was driving to the gym around five thirty, I noticed a woman just starting her own run. I was instantly jealous and felt let down by myself. Even though I have been trying to add in a full body workout two to three times a week, I miss the days of just running and biking with some planking or even the seven minute work out thrown in from time to time. Lately, it all seems a bit more rigid and time consuming.  By the time I came home from the gym, I was starving. And, oddly enough, I was still yawning. I took half an energy bar and set off.

Hunger and fatigue create an inauspicious start to any work out, let alone running. I think running is the hardest of all physical pursuits, which also makes it, to me, the most rewarding. It is not always the joyful experience that biking is, but there is a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish.  Also, I have noticed that when I run around the time of month my body is celebrating being female, it is much harder. My legs feel achy and week, and everything just seems… harder. And yeah, my body is getting ready for the festivities, which added to my lack of endurance.

What I thought about as I was running, when I wasn’t tracking how long the blocks in Oreland are, or how wide the streets (.06 mile for blocks and .01 mile for streets), is that for most adults there will be plenty of days that are not optimal. There will always be stressors in time, work, family, friends, unexpected events – both good and bad. The normal ebb and flow of life constantly test the commitment to push physical boundaries. I try to use this to my advantage, telling myself that the odds I will wake up after a wonderful night’s sleep rested and ready to take on the world or at least the Poconos are slim to none. Chances are I will toss and turn the night before, and the calendar is already not shaping up for optimal female health. Therefore, I need to practice running and biking in these circumstances. Because I’m not a professional athlete and I have to live in the real world.

Still, when I am well rested, not hungry and feeling at the top of my game, running makes me feel like a superhero. There are days I feel as though I could run forever. And that’s why I continue to run. Plus, seven miles is just around the corner…

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