Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Brilliant Feet

For the first month or so of school, I ran every Tuesday and Thursday morning before work. I liked waking up a little eariler and getting my run over and done while the rest of my house was still sleeping (well, usually--often times, Tommy would be standing at his gate as I tried to slip downstairs to run). I liked being able to just go straight home after work and not have to worry about where and how to fit a run into my day.

But as it got darker and darker out in the mornings, it became more complicated. My runs were erratic because I ran the first half mile so fast, trying to get out of my dark neighborhood and onto the brightly lit, heavily trafficked main road. The last time I ran in the morning, I ended up freaked out because a van pulled into a side road directly in my running path. I am certain they were probably doing something completely normal, like delivering a paper or picking someone up for a carpool. But with it still so dark outside and no one else around, I ended up turning around and doubling back because, yes, I am quite paranoid.

After that, I started running on the bike trail near my work. I've learned a lot since I've started running this area. Only crossing the road once, two miles in, is great. I don't have to worry about traffic or a car coming up behind me. I can just run.

I've learned to tell the difference between twigs and snakes. It helps when the snake is moving or in a decidedly un-twiglike shape. Still, there are times when what I think is a twig will suddenly dart into my path and yes, it startles me.


I've learned that when a faster runner passes me, it's okay to acknowledge that they're much faster than I'll ever, but that doesn't make me any less of a runner. I've learned that I will almost always be jealous of bicyclists, with their easy ways to store water. Runners, suggestions for fuel belts or do I need to just suck it up and start carrying a water bottle in my hand? I really don't like to have extra things, but I was pretty parched after seven miles today.

I've learned that because the trail has slight inclines and many curves, I never quite know what's up ahead. Each further run takes me to new sights. The first time I went seven miles, I discovered this bridge just after the 3.5 mile mark. Because I run out and back, my feet haven't taken me beneath this bridge just yet, but I am certain they will.


I've learned that no matter how I run, the half mile between my car and this bridge always seems so short on the way out, but SO LONG on the way back.

I know my car is up there, but I always feel like the end of the trail is moving away from me as I'm running and no matter how fast I go, it keeps getting further away. It's like some sort of horrible optical illusion, until I finally round the corner and see my car. I probably look like some sort of deranged maniac when I come bursting out of the trees and leap into the waiting driver's seat of my car.

Mostly, I can't believe I'm saying this, but mostly, I've learned that I love running. There were times early on when I hated it. I hated every single second that my feet hit the pavement. And don't get me wrong, there's still a huge internal struggle between lazy Erin and running Erin every time I have to go for a run, but these last few weeks, I've noticed the slow drain of stress out of my body when my feet first hit the pavement. I never thought I'd feel this way, but I'm so glad I do.

17 comments:

nicole said...

You need water if you're running distance. I train mostly on a treadmill, so I have no suggestions, but I'm sure your running buddies will help you out. Loved reading this, especially the end--that is how I feel about running most of the time.

Stephanie said...

Oh yes. I never thought I'd say it either, but running makes me happy. I love reading about your running, because it encourages me to keep it up. (But I have to ask...what do you do when you're sick? I'm coming down with a cold and feeling miserable tonight so I missed a run...and I was so sad to miss a run. I really hate missing a run - and it sounds really weird to say that coming from me, the asthmatic/former heart surgery patient, who's never run a mile in her life before this year. ;)

Katy said...

I'm so proud of you in so, so many ways.

Courtney said...

Erin, I'm so glad you found a love for running. I just got the go-ahead from the doctor to start again, and I am so beyond excited!!! It was such a part of me for so long, and I'm finally able to start running again!! I know exactly what you're talking about when you say the stress pours out of you when your feet hit the pavement. It's the best thing ever. :)

TheRedQueen said...

You are totally my inspiration. You are so awesome!

I am still at the dreading running most days stage, how long did it take before you started enjoying it?

Jen said...

I loved this post today! I have been trying to do better about running but this month has just been awful. I turn 30 tomorrow and was supposed to run 2.5 miles as my goal. I haven't run in about a month and have really been going back and forth about even attempting it tomorrow. After this post, I am going to. Even if I can't make the full 2.5 miles since it's been a while, I will use it as my benchmark to get back into running. It amazes me that you run 7 miles! Thanks for the inspiration!

Adam said...

I'm so glad your brilliance trickled down all the way to your feet but even happier that you can feel your stress drains from them as you run.

Julie said...

I am jealous that you have learned to love it. I never got that.You RULE SO MUCH. Do you have a running belt w/ water bottles? You want to borrow mine through the winter? I won't use it when it's cold outside.

Lyndsay said...

You're amazing!!

Bari said...

I've loved watching you grow as a runner - it's so cool. As for the water question - I'm going to have to slap you if you don't start carrying water. You can probably get away without on a 3 mile run, but anything more than that - you NEED it. I love my Nathan fuel belt and I bought the racing caps for my bottles that don't leak.

Aimee said...

Please carry water and/or gatorade with you. You also will need something to refuel you, like Gu or sport beans. You are losing so many electrolytes when you run! I have a Nathan belt and it's not noticeable to me when I'm running.

Crooked Eyebrow said...

I am so very proud of you!

The Legers said...

I am so inspired by your running.

I want to do it, too...but I can't ever keep up my motivation.

Any tips?

Kirsten said...

I've been meaning to comment on this post because it is so amazing. I am so proud of you, Erin. Seriously. This running thing isn't really about running. It's about what's in your heart and in your head.

quicklikeabunny said...

Hooray! I'm so happy that you're having such fun - because really, why run if it isn't ever fun?? I use a fuel belt on runs longer than 5 miles. It's got a pocket for my gels when I'm going really far which is nice.

(and I have the same optical illusion at that part of the trail)

Corrina Beana said...

Running is amazing. It's so much more than exercise. Especially for moms I think. Especially for working moms. I never in a million years thought I'd be a runner. And now here I am, managing to train for a full marathon. Hope you keep up with it! There is definitely an ebb and flow, but registering for a few races a year is a great way to stay on track.

The Sunshine Crew said...

Can't imagine that it was too fun to come across a snake while trying to run! We have had loads of snakes in our back yard! The Racers and Ring Necks we can handle but the Cottonmouths (Water Moccasins) are deadly. My boys were so bothered by the fact that our yard has so many snakes that they submitted an entry to the DIY Crash Me please and we are in second place for all of the entries in the South and in seventh place for all of North America! The entry is called help us make over our yard from snake pit to sanctuary!
You might enjoy seeing the entry!
Here is the link in case you want to see it:
http://my.diynetwork.com/crash-me-please/South/Wesley-Chapel-FL/detail.esi?oid=25845510
Well, hope that your upcoming runs are snake free! I enjoy your blog and am glad that I discovered it! Have a happy, snake-free week:)
Colleen