It's a real question, and one that has been keeping me from posting at all this evening -- I think I put too much energy into the wrong stresses. I could have just posted and had much more time to worry about global warming, communism, killer bees, et al.
Probably just one post, then:
28 Dec.: I took the day off. From running at any rate. And, largely, from writing. Thing is: I did some volunteer work here and town that took about five hours longer than I thought it would, and that's that. I didn't run, though I did hold a power drill over my head for a long time, and you all know how I feel about doing work above my shoulders (well, if you don't know, now you do: I dislike it). But it felt good to lend a hand, even if I wasn't as helpful as I wanted to be.
30 Dec.: maintenance run: I dragged the crapradoodle for 3.1 miles (31:04). I felt good: I didn't think I'd get a run in today, because I spent a great deal of time with our four-year old. We played Rumikube and Chutes and Ladders and had a vanilla steamer and a heart-shaped cookie at the best coffee shop in Ohio. Then we went to the toy store to spend her Holiday money. We filled the cart, and emptied the cart and filled it again, and emptied it again. All with stuff, we agreed, she couldn't afford, but she wanted to know what her options were. Eventually, she settled on a horse in a purse and some lip gloss. She combed the horse and introduced it to her other stuffed animals, her sibbies, and mommy. She fed the horse its carrot and muzzled and saddled the horse. After being home for about two hours, she turned to me and said, "I've always wanted an animal in a bag." Clearly, today was a resounding success.
29 Dec.: okay, the rub: yesterday's run was designed to be a tempo workout. My regular tempo run is a seven mile loop, most of which follows the bike trail, such that I can run a maintenance pace with 3 miles worth of half-mile or mile intervals. I've also been wondering what the rules are about the local university track, but I've lacked the commitment it takes to contact the university. I have a 3.1 mile loop marked off such that I can run a time trial for a 5K when I'm ready, but I haven't been ready yet. I thought about each of these runs, but, ultimately, felt absolutely exhausted: it was all I could do to drag my tired ass out the door. I ran a mile and felt like poo. I ran a second mile and couldn't think of a thing I wanted more than to curl up on the side of the bike trail and nap. I thought about just finishing a short maintenance run and doing a more intense workout the next day.
Meanwhile, I noticed that the turkey buzzards were all gone, and the dozen or so remaining geese had occupied the opposite bank. I imagined an intense battle, but the truth is, the turkey buzzards probably just flew back to the trees where they live and the geese probably just migrated. Maybe we humans could learn a thing or two from the birds.
Anyway, after that second mile, I sat down next to the river. A rather bland river, by most accounts, not very big, not very swift, not much elevation change. But if anybody out there is at all like me, you'll agree that just about any river is worth sitting beside for a few hours a day for the rest of eternity. I was thinking maybe sitting there would provide some sort of running muse or general healthy inspiration, but I got nothing. I stiffened up a little bit from sitting still, but, like I say, I find limbering up exercises (not necessarily beneath me so much as) appalingly boring. Please don't judge.
I sat there for about ten minutes and watched the wintery brown water seep beneath a well-used railroad bridge and got a touch chilly. I wanted to do an intense workout, but my body just wasn't getting behind me. Nothing was really sparking. I felt guilt for leaving my kids and spouse at home to take care of the house without me. I felt like I should have been writing something, building something, or, at least, relaxing in earnest. I got up and decided to simply run home and pick up the intense run the next day.
When I got to the half-mile marker closest to my house, I thought, in no uncertain terms, "Oh, what the hell," and I ran a half mile hard . . . hard for me: (3:17). I felt good. Normally, I would want to do six half miles, but I decided to take a two-minute walk and simply try a second. I felt good again (3:17). I walked three minutes and decided on a third (3:23). Not awful, and, let's face it, I was halfway there. After a three-minute walk, I ran another half mile (3:21), three-minute walk, another half mile (3:21), three-minute walk, final half mile (3:13). In the meantime, the clouds had broken, the sun had come out for the first time all day. I'd broken a sweat. I felt better than I had all day. In a lot of ways, I got lucky to have a good run. But in a lot of other ways, I wouldn't have had that luck if I hadn't made space in my life for it.
I got home, the house was fine; the kids were fine; my spouse was fine; my crapradoodle was fine. My next big run (a long run) will be Monday -- on the ten-day loop, it should be Sunday, but Sunday has been set aside for family purposes. Today was a fine day to run.