Despite the gloomy forecast for the Triangle this weekend, I was able to enjoy two beautiful runs this weekend with two very different goals. Yesterday morning, I was primed to comb Bull City Running‘s birthday sale in hopes of finding shoes on clearance. Sadly, my Mizuno Wave Rider’s were on their last days. The tread was essentially gone, and I finally felt the aches and pains of the concrete despite my beloved Superfeet. I gave my Mizuno’s one final spin on the American Tobacco Trail – a four miler. To keep my brain engaged and try something different than just a tempo run, I threw in some fartleks, which was quite fun. It made the usual trek through Hope Valley much more entertaining. And, in some level of irony, I canceled my massage scheduled for that morning in order to be at Bull City for the official opening at 10am. Trading one Swedish delight for another?
After trying on a few new pairs and testing them out on the concourse, I found the Brooks Ghost to be reminiscent of my Mizuno’s neutral structure (although this did require me to purchase a narrow width – who would have thunk?!) I broke in these new kicks this morning on another big switcharoo for my training pattern: I opted to complete my 12 miles at the Al Buehler Trail around the Washington-Duke Inn. While my phone’s weather app touted 100% humidity, it felt amazing outside this morning: cool breeze, slightly overcast. I had never completed more than two laps around the Buehler trail. It was definitely challenging: those hills had my inner thighs aching after lap two. But, I kept moving on, channeling some of Scott Jurek’s advice from Eat & Run (a current read) and focusing on different breathing techniques and keeping an open mind.
One aspect of running that I witness which I would like to see change: less people plugged into headphones. Now, I recognize and respect that external factors can make running a much more pleasurable experience (and provide that needed motivation). At the same time, the sounds and sights happening all around runners, especially on trail runs, can be equally or even more inspiring (my argument, for sure). The birds, the wind, the sound of your footsteps on the earth. Also, there is so much to be said about channeling inwards and checking-in with yourself: how is your breathing? What does a body scan reveal? where is your mind? What messages are you sending to yourself?
Maybe that sounds too hokey or new age, but what’s the point of running if you don’t allow yourself to be present and revel in it? You are accomplishing something many people elect to avoid, and it’s your own inner and outer strength that allows you to take each step forward.
As Jurek writes: ““We move forward, but we must stay in the present.”