Thursday, October 26, 2017

Obsessive Runs

Anyone who reads my blog knows that running is a huge part of my life.
And for about 15 years, I have had some good friends who run regularly with me. One friend moved to Louisville, about an hour and a half away, and the other friends and I started running less and less over the years, only meeting occasionally on the weekends.
Toward the end of September, as I finished a run, MapMyRun suggested that I do a "challenge." The challenge was simply to see who ran the most during the month of October.
I texted my friends and asked whether they were interested. The initial response was not enthusiastic, but slowly, they came around.  I thought our friend in Louisville would never agree to join us. She is very private, and the idea of following each other's runs on MapMyRun put her off.
But after a couple of days, she surprised us and joined. All four of us were then on MapMyRun together on the challenge.
I loved that we were all together. It felt almost like we were running together again.
At the beginning, I apologized. I'm obnoxiously competitive. Najah didn't buy into the competition, just enjoying our running time together. Noreen has also stepped it up, but working early each morning, she doesn't have time to overdo it like I do a couple days each week.
Noreen and Najah joined me for a run Sunday morning at my house. 
None of us had been running a lot. I usually ran 3 or 4 miles on 3 or 4 days a week. That would come out to a maximum of about 64 miles per month, but the idea of competing revved my engines.
My friend in Louisville doesn't mess around. She runs 8 miles at a pop. Suddenly, I was having to force myself to run 5 or 6 days a week, and my mileage increased. I stayed in the lead for much of the month, but slowly, her runs caught up with me. Lots of short runs could not compete with her 8 milers.
On Sunday, my Columbus friends and I ran five miles and felt satisfied, but when we closed out the app, my Louisville friend had run 11 miles.
On Tuesday, I ran 10 miles. That had been my New Year's Resolution, to be able to easily run 10 miles again. So by October 24, I reached my resolution. Feeling smug that I'd taken the lead again, I turned off my app.
The next day, my Louisville friend ran 11 miles again.
Twinges in my knee and ankle are reminding me that my body is not used to all this running.
I woke up this morning seeing that I was six miles behind my friend. I decided to run a moderate amount. I couldn't go ten miles again like I had on Tuesday.
This railroad trestle crosses the trail, and you can see downtown Columbus through the bridge.
I walked with my friend Sheila first, waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. Around 9 a.m., I headed toward the bike trail that runs along the river and to downtown Columbus.

I ticked off the miles, deciding at what point I would turn around. Maybe a five-mile run would be enough, although I wouldn't catch my friend.
As the hitch in my left knee caught a few times, I thought maybe I should just concede.

The still green lawn runs right up to the Scioto River
But I kept going. The trail along the river used to be under construction, but now it is finished all the way to Bicentennial Park, which is where cool water fountains offer relief in the summer.
The arched bridge in the background is new to Columbus. 
I looped around at four miles and headed home, planning to stop at a Starbucks as a reward. The trail crosses the river, offering views of herons and a low-head dam.
Should I continue on the trail? Go for nine or maybe 10 miles?
No, I circled around the Starbucks to make sure I reached eight miles, before easing into a chair to relieve my sore feet. Grace met me at Starbucks and gave me a ride home in exchange for a coffee, and some always precious conversations.
I know that it's my dream to move to France, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be moving, but that doesn't mean I won't miss things about Columbus. And mornings like this are worth appreciating.
The LeVeque Tower stands stark against the brilliant blue October sky. 
Right now, my mileage for the month is at 100.85 miles.
I'm currently two miles ahead of my friend on our October challenge on MapMyRun, but I've made peace with not winning. I've promised myself not to overdo it. Resist, resist, I urge myself. Injuries will get me nowhere.
The challenge ends on Tuesday, and I vow not to spend the day running until I go to work in the evening.
Because, you know what happens on Wednesday, November 1?
It's the start of Nanowrimo -- National Novel Writing Month, where I try to write 50,000 words in a month.
From extreme running to extreme writing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed that you run so much. My knees and especially my feet would object forcefully.
It's good to know how to motivate oneself. The behavioral psychologists would say that making a commitment helps a lot, and making a commitment before other people can help even more.

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