Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good news: I still like running

Last week, I actually ran more than I rode, which likely contributed to the escalation of my RAGBRAI fears.

However, though it might not have been helpful for my training, it was a great boon to my attitude.

On Mother's Day, I did a slow, untimed, leisurely 3.35-miler around my parents' neighborhood (my mom was playing outside too, OK?); the next day, I did 3.75 slow, untimed, leisurely miles around our neighbors' prairie path; and a few days after my return to Des Moines, I did three humid evening miles.

At the end of that first run, I was just glad to be moving, not sitting in a car, and to be seeing the sights of home. (As much as I love Des Moines, northern Illinois is home.)

At the end of the second, I was glad to spend time out in the country — spotting outdoor cats, smelling pine trees, listening to the wind and birds in the trees and dodging piles of unknown animal poop.

And at the end of the third, I was just glad to be running. Even the soupiness of the warm, humid air, and the intense sweat it inspired, felt glorious. Before the side cramp hit me around mile 2.5, I even caught myself feeling a little bummed that I "had" to bike for a few months.

So I guess it's official: The aimless runs, the bike rides and the "Just Dance!" have wiped out the angry memories of struggling and feeling let down from the Hy-Vee Half Marathon. I can say again, to everyone's confusion (including my younger self's), that I enjoy running.

Yep, it's still a challenge, but right now, with the finite period of being goal-free, it's a no-stakes challenge that ends with a good endorphin buzz.

Once Iowa heats up with a vengeance and I have the inevitable miserable run, and/or once I return to training for a half marathon, I'll look back at this post and laugh bitterly.

But for now, I'll activate MapMyRun once or twice a week — out of curiosity only, not for pride — and feel free to stop and walk it off, shame-free.

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