Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cut Back & Cut Loose

This week is a cut-back week in terms of my training and it could not have come at a better time.  Lately, my runs have been a struggle; I spend them staring at my watch to see how much longer I have to go.  Usually running allows me to work through my thoughts and unwind, but lately I think about my couch and how good it will feel when I sit my butt on it. Instead of deep thoughts I envision the bowl of popcorn I will enjoy afterward and the book that I can’t wait to get sucked into.

When I start to feel this way I know it’s time for some recovery.  Last night I had my first great run in a few weeks. I had no idea how far I would go, or how fast. I just went with it.  I ran from home through the picturesque Balboa Park exploring little areas I usually zip on by during a speed workout.  I felt gratitude for the sun beaming down on me and the perfectly clear blue sky.  The smell of flowers enveloped me as I whisked through the park, relaxed and free.

Balboa Park

I ventured out of the park and down 5th Avenue.  Although I walk down this street daily it looked different as I ran.  The palm trees lining the street soared high above me in a way I never noticed.  I smiled at people walking down the street and to my surprise they all smiled right back.  For a moment I imagined I was in a music video, dramatically running in slow motion.

I thought about my family that I miss and pictured each one of their faces.  I could have been moving at 8 minute pace or 10 minute pace; I had no idea and I didn’t care either way.  I was treasuring each stride.

I became overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for so many things – big and small.  I was feeling thankful for my healthy body, my accepting family, reuniting with my best friend, the almost seamless transition of our life from Chicago to San Diego, my job with a fantastic organization and the list of gratitude goes on, but I will stop because it includes everything from frozen yogurt to puppies.

I needed this run.  I was able to reflect upon all of the things I have been forgetting lately.  Some runners have a habit of clinging tightly to their training program and becoming excessively structured.  Structure is great but overload can lead to burn out and even injury.  I am guilty of this myself from time to time, although I make an effort to stop and smell the roses whenever I can.  I have learned not to treat every run like a work-out.  There is a reason training programs have cut-back weeks and recovery runs.  Use them!


Has it been awhile since you’ve had a run filled with joy?  Do you push yourself hard every single time?  Do you use a watch to monitor your pace on every run? 


If you answered yes, it might be time to give yourself a break.  Ditch the watch and treat yourself to a fun run.  Run like a kid again!  Pay attention to the world around you; the smells, the sights, the sounds.  Forget about that upcoming race and enjoy the present.  It is a great reminder of why we love to run in the first place.  Along the way you might find there is a lot you’ve been missing. 

Happy Running!

15 comments:

  1. Kate.....I love this blog, I am so glad that you have finally realized that you can take a break and it will all be okay. :-)

    Rachel

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  2. kate, smelling the flowers along the way is one of the most wonderful happy things in the whole world. And i'm happy you take the time. Flowers along the way can also be taking off your shoes and walking in the grass (just because), or petting a puppy along the way. Don't forget to look up, you'll never know what you miss. I love you my little Angel. XOXO

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  3. Yes i'm here looking for somthing to read. I like the new background. Asparagus green, yumm!

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  4. This was amazing and such an inspiration for many people stuck in a rut with there everyday routine. This will help a lot of people Kate!!! I love you!! Your the best!!

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  5. lmao, okay so Rachael also doesn't know how the hell to select a profile. We're both under anonoymous. Sarah

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