It’s supposed to be Spring here in the Midwest but these early morning runs have been chilling for me. I am out about 1 1/2 hours before 5 AM when nothing moves except me in the chilly temperatures. An occasional car gratefully allows me to run in the street without care. I run in the street because the sidewalks are uneven where tree roots and settling earth have disturbed the flatness. I can also see better in the street as I run facing traffic. I wonder how well drivers see me with my bright reflective fluorescent yellow and white vest.
My mile times have dropped wonderfully over the past couple of weeks. I know that I have to encourage my thought processes to move faster. My mind wants to get into a “cruise” mode that is too slow for my upcoming races as fears enter my psyche that I will “run out of gas” if I move faster. Clearly on the last couple of training runs, this has not been the case. Yes, truly running is quite mental, more so that physical.
In the past week, I have been doubling my runs with one in the early morning and another in the evening. I realized on my training runs, that I needed to get used to running in the evening as well as running in the morning. I still enjoy my uphill runs more than running downhill as I the downhill is not as kind to my knees. I worry about knee injury yet seem to have no joint problems; only muscle cramps.
Along the lines of muscle cramps, my feet and calf muscles will awaken me with knots. I jump up and hop around until the spasms break. These “charley-horse” events are less frequent but they still happen. Sometimes, my feet will cramp to the point that I can’t fall asleep, again, less frequent since I spend time stretching before and after my runs. I try to warm-up and cool-down properly. Usually, the cool-down is my favorite part of my run as I can get into a cruise that my body enjoys. I have not experienced leg exhaustion yet on my runs-waiting to see what that experience is like.
At the end of my run, I have an affirmation that I perform. It’s my expression of gratitude for every step of the run. I am always happy that my body allows me to put one foot in front of the other without pain. I know plenty of folks who have suffered injuries who don’t experience the sheer joy of jogging that I experience. The joy of movement is a great gift; unexpected at my age and good for my heart.
My resting heart rate was 49 this morning; another wonder for me. I spent some time listening to my heart sounds last evening as I lay in bed. My slow heart is remarkable to hear especially with my electronic stethoscope. I also know that my heart is larger and more efficient; the result of my physical conditioning. I can run up flights of stairs without thinking these days; pure joy for me.
I can’t stop smiling as I take in all that is around me with the pure indulgence of gladness of spirit. I’ve had some magical moments that stay in my heart. So ordinary yet so wonderful, making me happy to be alive without definition; my mind seeing many creative possibilities and solutions to problems. I suspect that my running has something to do with my enjoyment of ordinary moments of life but I can’t be sure. I know that I just want to keep running.