I'm working on my best week of training in a few months. Back in November I was up to 70 miles a week but the health of my foot spiraled downward, ultimately leading to a crappy December that started with my efforts to try to run through my injury and led to a near-three week shutdown from running that carried me through a big hunk of January. I'm now back to running, relying on my new custom-made Marathotics, which get high marks! The good news is that I'm running! The bad news is that I'm out of shape, *relatively* speaking. In this case, the good news far overshadows the bad news.
As I was saying to Anne last night, this is the first time in a little over seven years that I've been out of shape relative to the steady level of fitness I've been able to maintain. My turnover is quite poor and my feet are heavy. My cardiovascular capacity is no where near what it was a few months ago, and living at 6,100 feet just exacerbates the problem. I know all of this will clear up soon as my conditioning improves. Honestly, it's been a very interesting experience, and I'm not really worried or stressed because I know I'll soon start feeling better and better until finally I'm on track for peak fitness. I think in three weeks things will be different.
I've been thumbing through Tim Noakes' classic "Lore of Running." It's a substantial book intended for the very serious runner. Last night I read about the history of running and was especially enthralled by the Greek messengers. I know it must have been hard running hundreds of miles to deliver messages, but I can't help but feel fascinated by and drawn to the thought of traversing hundreds of miles on remote countryside and over mountains with a single mission...but with no aid stations, no Coolmax fabrics, no handheld water bottle and certainly no PowerBars or Gatorade. It's just you and the mission. I think today's ultrarunners are the worthy descendents of the great messengers and pedestrians. Did you know that Madison Square Garden once hosted multi-day events?
Lately I've been thinking a lot about folks who made better health and weight-loss their new year's resolution. Many of us make resolutions and it's hard sticking with them. Based on some observations I've made at my gym, which fortunately I'm using less and less now that I'm back outdoors running, I think a lot of people don't really know where to begin and feel paralyzed by doubts and embarrassment. This is unfortunate but understandable. So what to do if you're the new year's resolutioner who wants to lose weight but are now feeling discouraged and maybe not quite as motivated when you're driving to the gym? Or maybe you've given up altogether. I think the answer to life-long health is to find an activity that you enjoy and stick with it. It needs to be a sustainable pursuit. This may be golf, pick-up basketball, tennis, yoga, cycling, kayaking, walking, hiking or maybe even running.
I am one of the lucky ones--I can't remember the last time I really exercised, because to me running goes way beyond exercise and is truly a love.
Find your love. Today.