Friday, December 30, 2011

A Fine Day to Run

So how do I deal with a three-day post? Separate posts, one post in sections, many posts cross referencing each other and providing links . . .

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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a Miserable Day to Feel Good about

Maintenance run. Cold. Wet. Rainy. Dark. Damp. (The one thought that kept cropping up while I was running, by the way, was: "At what point does damp become wet and again when does wet become torrential?") Very wet, we'll call it today.

I had dinner plans with my spouse, and I started the run hungry. I know I've said this before, but . . . I did not want to leave the house today. Still and all, I set out on my 3.4 mile loop . . . backwards. No, I don't mean I ran backwards, but I did run it counter-clockwise. I'm going to have to put some thought into this: I wonder I typically run clockwise . . . I don't know.

Meanwhile, I decided to drag the crap-filled labradoodle around the town. She ran faster than usual, but that was good, because I felt a little better than a typical maintenance run. This suggests two things: 1.) I didn't run hard enough yesterday, and 2.) the dog is showing more improvements over these past couple weeks than am I.

Still, we made it back in 31:00 -- overall, a very smooth run, and, thanks to two long-sleeve shirts, I warmed up quickly and even broke a sweat in addition to the very wet rain that kept falling on me.

But enough about the run itself. Just a second to note to myself and the world that this blog is getting me out of the house almost everyday . . . food for thought.

And now . . . food for belly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spontaneous Planning

So I totally skipped yesterday's run, and I'm not going to pretend that playing ping pong for three hours makes up for a missed maintenance run. Still I wouldn't trade it. I got to play against each of the kids multiple times, and I can see already that my title as emperor of the ping pong table has a limited run. So I'm going to gloat while I can, and when my reign comes to an end, I'm going to fake an injury and walk nobly away from the table forever.

Today, I drove over to the rec center with plans to run a tempo workout on the treadmill. I like the idea of the tempo run, but, of course, the treadmill still sounds like the iron maiden in a lot of ways. Now I hate to complain, but we have had a family membership since the middle of December and have tried to make it to the gym at least once both weeks since we've been enrolled -- you'd think they'd call us if they were going to be closed on a weekday.

I was disappointment, because, like I say, I prefer an itinerary. If I had a calendar big enough, I'd already know what I was going to have for dinner this time next year. I have, as a result, on many occasions, shrugged my shoulders and walked away from a missed workout, grumping about not being able to run how, where, or when I wanted to, sticking my tongue out at the running universe (I called it the runiverse for a spell, but that never caught on), and watching television instead.

Today, I decided to go out for an hour. It was cold and dark, so I had to chose a route accordingly. I thought about running my hill-repeat workout, but the sidewalk is missing . . . well, it's missing sidewalk in a lot of places, and the run is not very well lit, so I didn't feel safe making that run. There's another hill very close by as well. It's about the same elevation change, but probably about half as long (therefor probably about twice as steep). I could make a loop that is just shy of a mile with that hill, so I thought I would run that loop for an hour, and see how my splits lined up after the fact.

On my first loop, I bumped into a group of young folks, I don't know, late teenish, and they creeped me out, standing next to a graveyard as they were. Had they been smoking cigarettes, had they reeked of beer, I would have felt less put out.

I decided not to run passed them again. Instead, I ran up and down eight hills, some longer than my repeat and less severe, others shorter and steeper. In the meantime, I tried to maintain a pace slightly more intense than my maintenance pace.

It was a great run. Truly great -- I ran all through this little town, up and down a dozen streets in a pattern I cannot normally run (this is a college town, and most of the students have gone away for winter break, so the streets are pretty empty, the bars are pretty empty, uptown is calm). I ran some hills I haven't run for a long time. I ran some hills I've never run. I kept a steady pace.

Before I was done with my run, I'd forgotten all about the rec center, and I hadn't thought once about what I would post on the blog -- maybe it was the total lack preparedness that allowed me this kind of running Zen. I am willing to admit that much.

Still, I prefer the preparedness.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Recovering from the Long Run

Morning run. Maintenance run. Dragged the labradoodle along the 3.4 mile loop (35:49). I feel like a slightly overweight middle-aged guy who ran 15 miles two days ago.

Oh, hello, mirror . . . yes, I see, I am that guy.

The town is quiet, the roads are quiet, two dozen turkey vultures sat on the opposite side of the river, eyeing up what remained of the geese. The river is cold, the roads are cold, it was a fine run.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2nd Half a Long Run

And there's the second half of my run. I avoided the treadmill this evening by promising myself to run this morning's loop backwards. This time I ran the 7.5 a touch slower (1:10:57), but I also added a couple of small stretches to avoid muddy stretches. I'm gonna guess I ran nearly the same pace.

This is the first time I've split a long run in two, and it was a great. Had I waited until this evening to run 15 miles, I'm almost certain I would have turned back early or only completed one loop. Had I tried 15 miles this morning, I would guess I would have been wiped out for the rest of my world after a two-and-a-half-hour workout.

I'm glad I avoided the gym again, too. We are having exceptionally warm 22 December weather -- it's terribly rainy, and, yet, still not so cold that a long-sleeve teeshirt doesn't keep me warm . . . too many double negatives: one long sleeve=warm Jackson today.

I've heard splitting the long run over the course of a day is an effective way to complete such a run. I don't know how the benefits are going to pay out, but I can say this: I'm definitely as sore as I would be had I run 15 in a row.

Post Script: I heard the geese at one point, though it was too dark to see them. I don't know what buzzards sound like. I'm afraid my scavengers have been vanquished . . .

Half a Long Run

I ran my seven-and-a-half mile loop (1:06:22) this morning for the first half of my run. I'm glad I didn't try to take on the whole long run, as I was antsy to get home and get back to work.

It was good to get out again in the morning, a touch colder than I'd like to begin, but a beautiful sunny day.

At one point, looking out over the river, I saw a flock of turkey buzzards on the ground, probably around a hundred of them, and more coming in. I've never seen that many on the ground before. On my side of the river, in the water swam close to the same number of Canada Geese -- I'd like to have stayed around to see what was going down, but, like I say, I have things to do. Anyway, I was rooting for the buzzards. They're an awful lot that folks don't seem to care much for. I say, get 'em, buzzards.

I'll probably take another six or so miles on the tread mill this evening.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Labradoodle Dreams

Ran my maintenance 3.4 mile loop (33:11). In my defense, I was dragging around my crap filled labradoodle as she emptied herself out. It's amazing how much stuff can fit into such a small dog.

Meanwhile, I spent the bulk of today's run trying to figure out tomorrow's run. It's a long run in the middle of the week, and I have a busy day planned.

The problem, in part, is the ten-day running cycle. Like I say, I love the idea of a seven-day cycle, such that the long run comes every weekend -- my problem with this cycle is that my body doesn't recover fast enough after my intense runs to run again two days later. Rather, I need two days off.

What I love about the ten-day cycle is the rest I get after each of my three intense runs. The problem is the Gregorian Calendar, which puts me also on these seven-day "weeks" that are not conducive to my running schedule.

Because I have such a busy day tomorrow, I'm going to try to split the run into two runs. An hour in the morning, and an hour in the evening. Wish me luck.


I made it over to the rec center for a maintenance run last night -- bleh, the treadmill -- how do folks live by these things?

Also, media -- how do folks run and watch CNN? or ESPN, for that matter? It seems important, even on a maintenance run, to simply run.

3.35 miles in 30:00 minutes -- I guess it is nice to know exactly how far I ran.

Thais is about as much as i can come up with to say about a treadmill run today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lancaster Hill

There's a hill beside my house that's just over .4 miles long. I run 8 repeats with the idea in mind that three intense miles is enough. It's, for the most part, pretty steep. I don't know how to guage that sort of thing -- now, if some generous patron came along and bought me one of those watches that's also an altimeter, this blog could be much more scientific.

The last time I ran it was the day before Halloween, and I ran an average time of 2:57. Before I dwell on that

My times weren't as good as the last time I ran this run, and I attribute that to several things. First off, it is much colder which, besides just meaning cold, means more and heavier clothing. Second, I blame Thanksgiving. Third, yesterday's ice skating with my daughters couldn't have helped.

But there were several things that I did note about this hill run, and none of them are new:

1. Because this is a hill workout, it's not about speed, so maybe I shouldn't be so conscious of my time up the hill, and focus instead on a consistent, tough pace -- times be damned.

2. Because this is a hill workout, I need to pump my arms more. Yes it's more of a workout when I'm using both parts of my body (top and bottom), but that's kind of the point, enit?

3. Because this is a hill workout, I need to focus on my breathing: when I ignore my breathing, I sound like a terrified raccoon. In heat. This is the kind of workout where I run best when I'm in a rhythm, focused, and consistent.

4. Because this is a hill workout, coming down the hill needs to be slow and recuperative. My best splits come after my longest recoveries: this seems like common sense to me, but common sense often goes right the hell out the window when I'm running.

5. Because this is a hill workout, it's a hill workout, not a blog post -- I found myself running best, again, when I wasn't thinking: "I hope this run is interesting enough to blog about . . ."

That last being said, there were other things that I thought about hill workouts, but I forgot them since my run. But the thing I regret was not that I forgot these things that I could be writing down this very moment; the thing I regret is that my mind was not fully in the moment during my run, and my splits reflected those stretches when I was thinking more about this (writing) moment than hitting those hills.

Times: (2:59), (3:09), (3:11), (3:00), (3:10), (3:00), (3:06), (2:57) -- these times are the most sporadic I've run since I started this workout. While I didn't expect to hit that 2:56 average from earlier this year, with greater concentration and consistency, I think, certainly, I could have averaged 3:02 +/- 4 seconds.

Something to shoot for.

Yesterday's Absence

Yesterday was just too much for me, which means that I missed an intense workout.

I should have done a hill or speed workout, but between holiday shopping, house cleaning, and taking the girls ice skating, there was no time. Not to mention the fact that I fell asleep at 6:30 p.m. last night -- it was simply too much.

All of which means I have to bump yesterday's run to today, which is not an enormous deal. I suppose what's much more critical than missing a day of running is how one makes up for it. As a folk with extreme personalities, I have, in the past, done ridiculous things:

Some days when I miss a run, I eat three dinners and multiple desserts. I don't know whether this is some sort of punishment my brain dishes out to my body or vice versa, or if I simply decide I'm on vacation, and what happens to my body on vacation, stays on vacation. I really don't know, but I end up mad at myself, kicking (metaphorically) myself, and sometimes go into a week-long slump of binge eating and skipping my runs. This process is a bad idea.

Often, equally bad, sometimes, when I miss a run, I follow up the next day by trying to double up somehow. Sometimes, I'll run yesterday's maintenance run in the morning, then do the intense workout in the evening -- this is an awful idea, because my evening run is usually poopy, but I push through anyway to have a poopy run, followed by a day or two of fatigue. Or I incorporate both runs together: I'll run three miles from my house to do a hill workout, run too hard, feel awful coming home, and feel terrible the next day and take more time off.

I'm gonna try something different today, and simply run the workout that I skipped yesterday. That way, I'm set back a day in my training, but since I'm not training for anything . . . I suppose I'll live with it. I'll update this evening.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Got a Run in after All

Okay, so I couldn't stay off the road tonight -- in part because I wanted to stick with this regimen; in part because I wanted to run; mostly, though, I'd had so much caffeine that my shaking was making the animals nervous.

I ran my 3.4 mile maintenance loop (28:47). It was colder than I would have liked, but I felt good being outside drifting in and out of headlights in no particular hurry.

After the loop, I feel much better, calmer, though sweaty -- in short, I'm in desperate need of a shower. Ask any member of my family, they'll back me up on this.

The Older I Get . . .

I remember a day in high school when I ran six miles to the YMCA, lifted weights for two hours, then played one-on-one with Danny for another hour -- I was fine the next day.

After shooting around by myself for half an hour last night, I feel like I should have stayed in bed this morning. This morning, my spouse said, "Did you hurt something?"

I said, "No. Nothing specific. Just my back is sore. And my arms here and here. And my neck doesn't feel good. Also my knees when I bend them or straighten them out. And my back is sore."

"You already said your back was sore."

"Yeah," I said, "but I meant down here the first time, now I'm talking about up here."

I think my glory days are behind me -- or is that, specifically, what glory days are? I guess, in a sense they have to be behind us, otherwise we'd just call them our lives.

Still, I'm planning time for a short maintenance run this evening, but if I end up still feeling this battered, I might just go for a walk. This is actually going to be a tough decision for me, where it would have been easy last week. Since I've started this blog, I feel a greater sense of urgency to run when I say I'm going to -- but I'm also trying to balance the notion of not-over-doing-it, such that I can remain injury free.

It's an awful thing to be responsible for one's own body!

Friday, December 16, 2011

On Hitting the Gym

Maintenance: bleh! As if a half hour run at a nine-minute pace isn't an awful enough experience, I did it today . . .

. . . on a treadmill -- it was awful . . . and very rewarding.

I didn't get time in the morning. I didn't have time in the afternoon. It got dark. It got cold. I had time to run while my kids was bowling, so I hit the gym. I ran for a time: 30 minutes and at a 6.8 mph pace -- that's one thing I love about treadmills: they keep track of my time, my distance. Sometimes I expect them to say, "You're doing great. Keep it up." But they do not do that, yet.

 I also don't like running on public display -- in the fishbowl of a community rec center, but it was safer and more climate controlled than the world, so I took advantage of our family membership.

Am I sounding whiney? I am. I should try harder not to be whiney. I will do that.

After my half-hour run, I borrowed a basketball from the front desk and shot hoops for a half hour. I haven't played since last December, so now I am in pain, but it's a decent kind of pain, one might even say a good kind of pain.

So tomorrow's another maintenance day, then I'll do some sort of speed or hill workout on Sunday.

I think I'm going to have to run earlier in the day, even if it's only so I can blog earlier -- at this point, I'm sleepier than I am interested in my life.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today's Pros and Cons

Guess who has two thumbs and didn't want to run this morning . . . we all know that joke right?

Well, you're right: it's this guy (and, yes, I am pointing at myself this moment with both thumbs (and, yes, I am that good at typing)).

Pro 1: My daughter forgot her lunch for preschool today -- another way to put that is to say, "I forgot to give my daughter her lunch for preschool today" -- so I decided to incorporate delivering the Hello Kitty lunch pail to the preschool. It's a couple of miles, which I used as part of my half hour warm up before I ran 3 (1 mile) repeats.

Pro 2: I might not have gone running this morning if I hadn't dedicated myself to this blog. One of the things that I find terribly important in running, writing, parenting, and several other things that I do is being honest with yourself. I knew this morning that if I didn't run in the morning, I could promise myself to run after my work day. But I knew, too, that I am helping my spouse make presents for our nieces and nephews this afternoon, so I would have had to put it off until after then, but we'd be eating dinner, so after then, but I will almost certainly have had a glass of wine before then, so maybe tomorrow. If it weren't for the blog, I might have put this all off until tomorrow. But I am very glad I didn't.

My times: 7:03, 7:02, 6:58. The last one, I think was a touch wind-aided, so I am very pleased with the consistency of the splits. I feel like I ran them pretty hard, but I feel like my split time should be faster by about thirty seconds each. My last 5K (my first race in nine years) I ran in 20:51. That's a 6:43 split. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I should be able to run three miles with a four minute jog between each faster than seven minutes.


Con 1: When I am running well, my stride is short, my arms are pumping, and my breathing is controlled, deep. When I'm not focused, that all goes to hell.

Even on my warm ups and cool downs and maintenance (bleh!) runs, I focus on filling my lungs and keeping my form smooth. But I found myself today, thinking: "What should I write for my blog entry? Should I talk about the weather? Should I broach politics? Should I mention a high school race I particularly remember? I kind of feel like I have to puke -- should I make a big deal out of that, and then suggest more time between breakfast and running? Things like that. That's not real running for me.

Running is not about finding zen for me -- I don't mean to imply that I didn't have a chance to reach nirvana because of this blog. What I do mean is that running, for me, is specifically about running. It's why I'm running for the middle -- I'm not running to beat anybody or to set any records or to lose weight. I run so that I can think about running, focus on my breathing, feel my footfalls on the world around me.

Today was less than perfect . . . but definitely still worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Connor Principle of Running

If I ever wrote a running book, it would be a companion piece to The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. I would call it The Misanthropy of Eyeore. Look: forty degrees Farenheit and drizzly, another maintenance run, perhaps the tenth time I've run before noon (I hate that, too) since 1994 -- I didn't like any of you half an hour ago . . .

But, now, of course, I feel great. My feet are chilly, but my running chemicals kicked in. Sidebar: I figured out their name -- their called Midi-chlorians, I think. I ran another 3.4. This time out and back. Front: 15:52. Back 14:42. Total: 30:34 The negative split is more about planning than about running. Ever hear of the Premack Principle? (Ha! What did you all think I was doing during that year as a secondary education major, just googing off?)

There are better ways to define it, but basically this: if you have a chore and a reward, do the chore first, and your life will be more pleasant. So my negative split on this particular fun is the result of running uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. We'll call it the Connor Principle of running. Besides the psychological effects of knowing that "it's all downhill from here," I believe that it's important to warm up my muscles with the shorter uphill strides before turning them loose on the downhill. I suppose I could stretch out before I run, but that ain't likely to happen. If I have to started stretching out, I'll probably just learn to swim instead.

Alright, I'll admit it, too, though I hate running in the a.m., I feel more ready to tackle my day than I did a bit ago. I'm actually looking forward to my walk to work. I guess it wasn't that bad of an idea to run in the morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I did not want to run today. Fact is, I almost never want  to run all day long. I, rather, wait for some sort of running muse to come along and nudge me: "Hey, dope, run!" it says to me somedays.

Beyond that, a friend asked me for help, so I spent five hours lending a hand, five hours that I hadn't planned on, and, let me be clear about this, I am one hard-core planning mami jami. For instance: I just finished my schooling this past summer, but I'd have my retirement party planned by now if I could land a job.

If I want to be spontaneous, I have to set aside time to do it.

Also, I run on a ten-day schedule: 1. long run, 2. off, 3. maintenance, 4. maintenance, 5. hill or speed workout, 6. maintenance, 7. maintenance, 8. tempo run, 9. maintenance, 10. maintenance. And I hate maintenance: usually slow and short.

To recap: a. no muse today, b. broken schedule, c. maintenance blah.

Still, in the name of a sustained, consistent effort, I got out there. I ran a 3.6 mile loop (30:26) at my run-slow, run-short, maintenance pace. Forgive my early whining -- it (the whining) was ony to illustrate a point: he run was great. It is always so hard to remember how much better a run can make me feel when I feel bad. I can't remember the last time I ran and thought, "Ehhh, I wish I hadn't done that!" Nor can I count the number of times I've taken that first step, activated those running chemicals -- I don't know what they are, but I know they're in there -- and felt great afterwards.

Further, I don't know if I would have gone out there today if I hadn't wanted to blog about it. So, thank you, blog. And if any body ever follows along, thank you in advance.

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Ab Workouts

After yesterday's run, my legs are worked. Today would be a great day for an ab workout: some situps, planks, crunches, a few devices I've invented over the years. Tell you one thing: that's not going to happen. I don't do abs. My philosophy about ab work out is simple: I hate them. I've always hated them. I don't see anything changing any time soon.

In other news, my triceps are shakey and sore this morning. I couldn't figure out why at first, but I thought back over my run and realized it was so cold yesterday that I had to keep vigorously rubbing my hands together . . . this caused my arms to tire . . . that's what kind of shape I'm in. Yikes.

Maybe it's time for pushes. Again. Not gonna do it. Similar to ab workouts, I hate push ups: the most frustrating and boring of all exercises. I'd rather have sore arms from the cold.

So I'm taking today off, unless one of the kids wants to go shoot hoops.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set . . .

So: I promised myself a while back that the next time I went for a run, I would start this blog. I knew it would be "Running for the Middle," and I have some ideas what kinds of things I might write about. But I was still nervous to start. So I took a couple weeks off running.

Today, I couldn't stay away any longer, but I still wasn't ready to blog, so I went for a long run by my standards: 12.4 miles (1:55:11). During that time, I came up with hundreds of interesting things to blog about, but they all went away.

Still, I suppose that's part of this project: to run and be thoughtful and let things go. Which brings me to the first question of this blog: why do you run? Today's answer: to let things go. The answer's different almost everyday for me. Some days, admittedly, it is about health. Some days it's about getting out of the house. Some days, it's a negative answer: e.g. so I don't feel bad about myself. Some days I don't know why I run until I get back from my run. Some days I'm still not sure at that point.

Today, I ran twelve miles, and during that time, a lot cropped up in my mind -- wondering whether or not I'll have a job next year, whether or not we'll have a house, whether or not I'm ever going to "make it" as a writer. There was also stuff about the past: I wondered what would my life would have been like if I had been a better high school runner, what my life would be like if I hadn't stopped running through most of my twenties, what my life would be like if I were more competitive.

When I'm at home, when I'm wondering whether or not to run or blog or cook or read, when I'm cutting grass or walking the dog -- in short, when I'm not running -- I often get caught in those loops, those unproductive loops of planning the future or trying to change the past. But when I'm running . . . not always, but some days, like to day . . . when I'm running I can just let those things go.

So. That's what I did today. I let it all go and ran like hell. It felt good. Now I'm going to shower.