Monday, February 4, 2019

Tales of a (formerly) intrepid runner

"There's a hardy jogger," a man out walking his dog said as I ran by.  As much as the word "jogger" annoys me, it was probably applicable that day as I ran slowly over some ice.  It wasn't that cold, about 10 degrees F, but I was still looking forward to being done.  Banished from the trails due to deep snow, I was running on a somewhat boring out-and-back road that was bothering my knees.

The younger me, who started running at 14 and obsessively hit the roads every day, would not think I was being particularly hardy.  After all, I used to run in blizzards, in 100 degree temperatures, during a tornado watch (don't do this), and on sheer ice without spikes (they weren't invented for runners yet).  I even had to get as ride from some random tourists past an angry bison once during a run.  I've startled bears and once, a mountain lion while running.  I even attempted a run after descending from a successful summit of Mt. Baker in the Cascades (it didn't go well).  It's fair to say I was sort of obsessed.

That's not me anymore.  My personal low temperature cutoff for outside running of -20F has changed to about 0F.  If it's nice out, you might find me hiking or snowshoeing instead.  On a work trip in a sketchy area, I'll use the hotel gym instead of nervously venturing out to run like I might have in the past. Awful winds, torrential rain, and snow blowing sideways have the potential to derail running plans.

Back when I used to run races (and occasionally win them), being a runner was a big part of my identity.  After decades of running and two knee surgeries, I'm still a runner, but not as often.  The younger me might have felt bad about this.  I don't, though.

The need to put in the mileage no matter what sometimes felt like a burden.  Now I run when I want to, and do other things when I don't.  I'm in better shape than younger me, who, while skinnier, didn't lift weights or do any type of cross training.

So you can call me a "hardy jogger" if you want.  But I'll just smile, because I have good memories of my more hard core, faster running days.  They're behind me, and that's okay.  There's still a lot left ahead.

8 comments:

  1. I especially like your last sentence.

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    1. Thanks! I used to identify so much as a runner, but there's so many other things to do.

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  2. I was just thinking about this the other day, how much thinner I was when I was younger, but how much stronger I am now, because of the same things: cross-training and weight training. I worry sometimes that running will become a chore, a duty. If it does, I am tossing my Runkeeper, watch, and every other device aside, and heading out, just me and my running shoes, no monitoring time or distance...until I fall in love again!

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    1. I mostly just run for time now and have a basic idea of how far I went. I also stick mostly to trails now. So much more fun than roads.

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  3. I love how you can appreciate the athlete you were in your younger days as well as the athlete you are now. Things do change with time, but continuing to move will serve you well - and I need to remember that, too.

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  4. At least you are still running! Keep it up!

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    1. Yes, my racing days are well behind me. I could still do it, but I would rather just run for fun.

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