The start of the run was a slog, it was cold, windy, and raining just a bit, too. But then I found a trail I never checked out before, and the next mile was between giant trees on fluffy pine needles, and then a bit of raised walkway over a bog.
Many runs lately have felt hard, so I walk a bit, get the heart rate down, and get back to it. A slow run just means more time outdoors.
Afterwards I stopped at Target, and I thought my car looked tiny compared to the truck parked in the nearby space. I don’t want to know how much it cost to fill up the gas tank on that thing.
I was hungry, didn’t bring any water, and it was one of the warmest days of the year so far. Did my best to be present, appreciate the sounds and scenery, and head out 2.25 miles on the D&L Trail in South Bethlehem.
I ran into two young kids who were taking photos with their polaroid. When I came back I asked how the photo turned out, and it was blown out – you could only see my shorts! So they took another shot, and said I looked like I could be on the cover of Vouge. I did the whole Madonna “strike a pose” thing, which may have been lost on them given their age, but it was still a good time.
My friend is out west, and posted some amazing pics from the desert. The Grand Canyon. She desribed this adventyre as a holy errand, and that’s the first time I ever heard those two words together.
I was out on my run tonight, on an old route. It’s always easy to to gauge the “success” of the run by the pace, the speed, the heart rate. Can I run to that tree without stopping? To the top of the hill?
Tonight was a holy errand. I heard crickets for the first time this year. Saw this amazing sky.
Pace? Distance? Eh. I was able to get to the top of some hills. Maybe not as fast as I would like, but I made it. And tomorrow I’ll do it again.
That means there are only 28 days remaining of winter, which honestly have been pretty rough. I’ve fought many bouts of the grumps which I’ve only handled by eating lots of cookies and taking advantage of all the food places within walking distance – pizza, Mexican food, cheese steaks, thai rice bowls, and DONUTS.
I finally put together back to back weeks of 14 miles running. I mean, I was in the single digits. Barely 10. But I kept running here and there. And now on Sunday I ran my first five miler in… forever. Took a solid hour, but whatever.
I’m never one to put too much stock in numbers and all that, but fuck it… we’re heading into our second spring during a fucking pandemic, so why not? As of Sunday, spring is 28 days away. About a month of the last few gasps of winter, of cold and darkness and wind. Onward to making some good things happen over the next 28 days.
Not a personal record, not a fast day, but a day of control. Kept it close to the line of easy and too hard on a 10K run with the Delaware River rumbling in the distance. It peeked through the trees, powerfully ignoring me the whole time.
The beautiful fall foliage, lots of reds and yellows, paid no attention. Creeks babbled and paid me no mind.
Nearly 10 or so minutes off my PR, on my third effort here at the 2021 River Ramble, but it felt fine.
My bib was #80, and I came in 80th place. Perfect day.
Tonight’s run was interrupted by a phone call from a dear friend. I was already out and about when I got the call, which I expected, and it was a good chat.
After about an hour on the phone, I got up and set off. I felt awful at first, since I had been sitting, but each mile was faster than the previous mile. I ran some unfamiliar streets, and it got dark, so I got to experience the first bit of running by street lights. I’m looking forward to more of that.
As I neared the end of my run ‘Here to Stay’ by Korn was playing, and that bridge part at the end got me stoked.
That final “GONNA BREAK IT” got me again. That got me running a little faster. Then ease it back, running down a hill, knowing another incline is coming.
I bolt up the first incline and have to rest at the next intersection. Heart screaming. I’m not out of breath, my legs aren’t shot, it’s just that my engine is at max RPMs and there’s no way to keep that effort.
Heart rate drops a bit, then I attack the next hill, because why not? I flame out 2/3rds of the way to the top, which is fine. I laugh to myself a bit. Grate at 45 to be doing this at all.
Finally reach the top and I see it. The big red mood, coming up over the horizon to the east. By this time it’s pretty dark. I dart down a side street with a lone street light. I see the moon. Just 12 or so hours earlier I watched the sun rise over that hill in the distance, from the same grave yard.
Something clicks, and I peel off another few quick bursts. Feels good, feels solid, and I keep it under control. Now I’m darting through the darkness. Now this is dangerous.
I round a corner towards my place, a nice 2.5% grade and just punch it. I cruise past a small crowd, a blur to my right. I just look up the hill, grateful I’m not running the entire thing.
I hit my parking lot and tap out.
There’s something about hitting your max. Hitting the limit.
Yeah, we hit limits with emails, with work, with bills, taxes… ahh, just gotta walk away!
But a physical limit. A point where there’s just nothing left. Where you taste the effort in your mouth.
Been talking a lot about mortality lately, with a lot of different people. And fuck, tomorrow ain’t a promise.
I ain’t got much, but I know tonights run was special, and that’ll stay with me.
It’s still a great device. A great tool. It’s helped me improve my sleep habits, and the importance of recovery. I love all that. It got me back on track with running.
Lately, though, it just doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not really adding anything, and at $30/mo, that’s not good math.
My buddy Dino put it best – if it helped you create some good habits, it was worth it. He’s right.
I had a run coach once. That wasn’t forever. And neither is Whoop, I guess. That’s okay.
I run because of skies like the one above. I run to blow off steam, to work out some of the stress of life, and work, and everything else.
Adding a Garmin watch, and the Whoop… oh wait, gotta make sure they’re both charged. Wait, this one is saying HR is way up, this one is stuck at 80bpm. What?
I just want my running to slow and low, without adding more stress to my day. COVID has really crossed off a lot of the big races and events that I’d do this fall. I’m going rouge, going solo, keeping to myself, and running with some good people, that’s about it.
A season for all things. I’ll still recommend the Whoop to anyone who asks. It’s just not for me anymore.