Sunday, June 17, 2018


Sunday morning long run today. I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go. This was the third weekend I’d done the long loop around the bridges (18 km). Two weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I was going to go long for the first time of the summer but when I got to the turn off I felt good, and it was a beautiful sunny but cool morning and it went well. But then last week was a real struggle. It was hotter, 25c by the time I finished, and I probably got a bit dehydrated. It wiped me out for the rest of the day. So this week I wasn’t sure what to expect. I tried to hydrate better before and during, and it wasn’t quite as warm (22c). Happily it went well. Well enough that when I reached home at 18km I felt good enough to keep going for another 2km to make it 20.

Thankfully the IT band knee problems that have plagued me for the last few years seem to have gone away (touch wood). I have no idea why. I’ve been doing stretches for it, but I’ve been doing that all along. I did make a point of running outside this winter instead of retreating from Saskatchewan winter to the treadmill. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful!

Of course, other aches and pains have taken their place - a weird pain in my left foot, and issues with my right hip. But luckily neither bothers me while I’m actually running, unlike the knee problems. I want to blame the aches and pains on age. But I suspect it’s got more to do with a personality that basically keeps going until it hurts. Age just means that happens sooner than before. Today was a good example. When I felt good at the end of my planned run did I stop and count my blessings? Of course not! I kept going and ran farther (and at a faster pace than the rest of my run). In some ways that was a struggle, in other ways it felt good. Maybe that’s endorphins, but I think there’s a large psychological aspect as well.

Pretty much every Sunday morning over the summer there is some kind of run/walk event going on. And almost all of them are along the river so I’m running past the crowds. That’s far too social for me. I like to run on my own. Lately I’ve been working on making it a moving meditation, especially my long runs. The benefits of meditation are clear, but I’ll never sit for two hours and do “nothing”. Combining it with my running makes sense to me. Just like you’d do sitting, I focus on my breathing, sometimes counting breaths. When my mind wanders I bring it back to center and concentrate on the breath going in and out of my lungs, on how my body is feeling. Sometimes the thoughts won't stop, other times I succeed in emptying my mind of everything except the motion. When things hurt it’s harder, but that’s when you want to be able to step back and look at those feelings from a distance. I’m not very good at it, but I try. I think it helps.

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