A brand new year. Another birthday ahead, and the determination to stay strong, healthy and fit. But it takes motivation. And it takes playing tricks on yourself. It’s cold. It’s late in the day. Fighting the urge to go home, turn up the heat, cuddle with the cat in front of the TV, drink beer, and eat popcorn. You know yourself. You know that if you don’t change into your running clothes at work and steer clear of home until after, you won’t run. So you fool yourself into believing that you would rather run by going through the motions of putting on your bright green Merrells before stepping out of your office. Then you make the first excuse as you drive your car away from work to the intended parking spot just down the road, where you have parked countless times before, and taken off from on your feet. In 15 minutes it will be too dark to run on that isolated one lane road through the vineyards. Where to now? Home? No. Yes. No. The track. Intervals. It will be almost dark, but there won’t be cars that can’t see you dressed in all black. Blocks from home you park your car, put your earphones in, and pick a favorite song to get you moving. The motions. Forward motion. Act like a runner and you become a runner. And you do. And you are. And it feels good. You round the corner on your fourth lap and see half of the glorious moon peeking out from the mountain. The moon that wasn’t there when you rounded the corner on your third lap, and by the fifth lap it sits low and big and full. And you are happy knowing you would have missed the moonrise if you had gone home.
Posts tagged ‘running’
Anguish. That’s what’s missing from my life. Happily, thankfully, and finally, missing. I’m glad it’s gone. It hovered above my head for the better part of four years. Don’t take this wrong. I wasn’t walking around in a perpetual state of sadness. Of course there were good days and bad days, and for the most part, I was a fairly happy person, but it took me a long time to recover from my divorce, my broken heart, and a massive amount of change in my life.
I learned to channel that anguish. Beginning with the first signs of a deteriorating marriage, I started running. Exercise became my therapy. Running, and then cycling were my drugs of choice. I completely related to the Karl Marx quote, “The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.”
I know this isn’t a new topic. I have mentioned it in other blogs and wrote a fun piece about it for Elephant Journal, but this is going in a slightly different direction. Lately, the past few months or so, I have been trying to figure out where my motivation has gone. Why am I not into running as much? Why am I not on my bike like I’ve been in the past?
A few weeks ago, while on a four mile run that turned into only three, it hit me. I’m happy. I realized that so much of my motivation for exercising was driven by anguish. Not all, but most. That was my edge. That was what got my agitated self out of the house quicker than anything else. I ran faster, I pedaled harder. I wanted it to hurt. The physical hurt made me feel better. The turmoil in my mind spurred me on. I can’t think of any other way to explain it.
It’s time to discover new motivation and to give myself a break. I’m realizing I don’t need to push myself as hard as I used to and that it’s okay to ease back a bit. I won’t ever stop. Exercise will always be my therapy and continue to make me feel good, but I’m ready for it to be a different kind of relationship.
If it ever seems that I am taking where I live for granted, please pinch me. Hard. Or slap me upside the head. Just do whatever it takes to snap me back to the reality that I am so very fortunate to live in this little corner of the world. There are so many reasons why, but today it’s all about West Dry Creek Road.
I have been on this road countless times, either in my car or on my bike, but today was the first time I pounded it’s pavement in my sneakers. I have always loved this road. It’s one of my favorites when I am on my bike. The scenery is spectacular, there are very few cars, and the microclimates make my head spin.
I am one who has to be creative with my workouts and by that I mean doing everything possible to prevent finding an excuse not to do it. It isn’t that I don’t love running and biking, but it is never easy to stay motivated during the winter months. The more I work out, the more I want to work out and the less I will skip it, but this time of year is always a little bit of a challenge. I never completely stop, but compared to what Spring and Summer look like, the difference is significant.
Running during the week is especially difficult during an 8-5 workweek. It’s too cold and dark before work and too cold and dark after work. But with the light beginning to extend itself as the days grow longer, I decided to take my running clothes to work with me and then figure out a spot to park my car and run before I drive home. I still have enough daylight and I avoid the urge of just wanting to put my jammies on and raid the refrigerator when I get home.
This evening I parked my car at Yoakim Bridge Road and headed out to West Dry Creek. Though the golden colors of autumn are long gone and what’s left are grapevines and trees without leaves, it was still perfect; a perfect winter day in Dry Creek Valley. Only one car passed by and two friendly cyclists. It was just me, the birds, the road, and a wide variety of excellent running music. The run itself was just a run. There were no personal bests and my legs were telling me that I was probably a little too ambitious this week, but still I ran. And it was beautiful.
And then I got in my car and drove the road home and along the way snapped a few shots so you could see what I was seeing.