Scratch That

Posted on July 17, 2015. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , |

You’re starting from scratch.

Words I normally don’t like to hear.  They usually follow in the wake of a loss.  Corrupted data.  Missing spreadsheets. People leaving, taking with them their knowledge, talent, skills.

chicken in dirtI’m left feeling like a starving chicken scratching for sustenance in the dirt.

This week was the first day I’ve run in almost a month. Sidelined by project deadlines and a longer than expected illness, followed by a much needed vacation, I came to a fitness halt.  By the time my body was ready to run, my mind wasn’t.

You’re starting from scratch.  That dreaded weight.  I didn’t want to carry it alone.

Tuesday morning my running buddy, Amy, and I set out for a three mile run.  I hauled my legs like heavy water balloons, one in front of the other, stopping frequently to walk.  My breath rasped in my ears like I’d just run for my life from a pride of starving lions.  By the end of the run I was soaked enough with sweat to appear as if those lions had almost won, spitting me out at the last moment.

I’m starting from scratch.

gardenYet as we walked home, sticky with July in Texas, it wasn’t my throbbing legs and shallow breath I thought of. It was, instead, July in Michigan, many years ago.  An old farmhouse amid an older orchard, surrounded by apples and apricots. A plot of garden lush with squash and watermelon, plump tomatoes, beans longer than my hand, stalks of corn towering above our heads. My mom and brothers and sister running through the carefully hoed rows, laughing and playing, picking and plucking, then canning and preserving, stewing and baking. Creating our sustenance. Together. Starting from scratch.

Amy and I will be out again tomorrow, and then again next week. Together. Starting from scratch.

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Fall into Running

Posted on October 5, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I feel like I’ve become a vampire runner since I’ve lived in Texas.  For what seems like 10 months out of the year (but is probably only 5), I run in the dark, before the sun comes up. It’s not that I think my body will burst into a ball of fire or disintegrate into an ash heap once the first ray of dawn touches my skin, it’s that with the Texas sun comes heat and humidity, and I do not like running in the heat and humidity.  I’m kind of spoiled that way.

I was born and raised in Michigan, where we have four distinct seasons. I love the fall. And I really miss it.  So I was absolutely THRILLED this week when fall began to sweep its way through central Texas.

To my horror, I almost missed it.

Fortunately, I got to run a lot this week.  I say “fortunately” now, but I didn’t feel so fortunate when the week began.  I’ve been diligent about maintaining a strength training program for several months now, which means I’m in the gym 3 mornings a week and running only 2 or (during good weeks) 3.   But this week I suffered from a puzzling injury that caused a great deal of pain when I raised my arm even just a little.  There went strength training out the door.

I solved the puzzle after only 2 days, but have had a hard time reducing the pain. The source of the injury?  Stress.  Seems I carry my stress in my shoulders and neck.  My muscles twist and strain like chords of twine worked into a braid, then bunch up into what feels like a knotted ball.  Literally. I could actually hear something in there bounce earlier in the week.

But rather than whine, I rolled out of bed and ran.  To my very pleasant surprise, outside felt like Michigan.  Cool, crisp air. The smell of early fall.  It changed my outlook entirely.

I even ran one morning after the sun came up.

And I didn’t explode.

Maybe by next week I can smooth out the lumps and put away the fangs for good.   Fall will likely be here, full head on.  I can’t wait.

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