Random running factoids
I’ve discovered if I just start every day in my running clothes, I’m much more likely to run. I almost always start my runs with a mile on a ditch bank alongside a farmer’s field near our house. Then I either turn around and head back home for a total of 2 miles, or I go around the (country) block which is a run of 3.6 miles.
JUST DOING IT
On Monday I headed out with zero enthusiasm. My legs felt tired before I started, and I fully intended only a slow 2-miler. But the morning was beautifully cool and a quarter mile into the run I realized I wasn’t as tired as I thought. I ended up doing the nicest 3.6 miles that I’ve ever done. It felt easy and fun. I was so glad I’d gotten out there. The success of that run made the whole day feel better.
I’ve maintained a 20-lb weight loss for nearly a year and a half now, so that feels really good. One thing that’s discouraging though (and yes, I know, this is total vanity): after nearly two years of running, I still don’t have ‘runner’s legs.’ The muscles ARE there, but they’re … ahem…padded. Bah.
If I really want that particular running ‘trophy’, I probably need to lose a minimum of 10 more pounds, which would put me smack in the middle of normal weight for my height instead of at the top edge of normal. I could do it if I gave up bedtime snacks. Boo. I don’t wanna. But every time I have a snack at bedtime these days, I consciously think, ‘this is why I don’t have runner’s legs yet.’ The first step is awareness, right?
A step in the right direction would be to only snack half the time. And maybe up my miles gradually if I can do it without getting injured. I’ve been feeling really good lately, and am running 10-12 miles most weeks. If I ran more like 15-18 a week, PLUS cut out three 300-calorie snacks, that’d equal half a pound of weight loss a week. That 10 pounds could be gone by Christmas. Hm.
One thing about running out in the country is that there are always random dogs. I pretty much know the dogs on my route– which ones just sleep under the pickup trucks, which ones sound mean but are well fenced, which ones have owners who yell at them if they get obnoxious, and which ones leave you alone as long as you’re on the opposite side of the road. But then there are the random ones the scare the liver out of you.
One came roaring out at me the other day from a place where I’d never seen a loose dog. He was big and he had that angry stiffness to his body that means business. I veered across the road and he came out from the yard and followed. I ended up having to directly face him, arms up, yelling in my biggest voice. Finally he stopped and I ran on, backwards for a few seconds, arms still up, still watching him as I got some distance, seconds later realizing my legs were feeling like jelly from the adrenaline rush.
John has taken to running with mace and he’d been telling me to bring it when I run too. I’d been resisting because I didn’t really want to think about weapons. But after that dog scared me good, I’ve taken his advice. I have to admit the added protection makes me feel better, and not only in relation to dogs. I run on quiet roads, and it doesn’t hurt to know I’ve got a defense if someone gets a bad idea.
Before I started running two years ago, my blood pressure usually ran somewhere around 128/78. Not bad, but recent recommendations suggest that it really is better if your diastolic pressure (the lower number) is further below 80. This morning I had my blood pressure checked, and it was 98/60, with a resting heart rate of 68. My resting heart rate in the past was always 80 or more. So those numbers are way better. I really feel good about what running has done for my health. It’s been great to discover strengths that I didn’t know I had.
What about you? What motivates you to keep going with an exercise program? To get out there and move even when you don’t feel like doing it?