But alas, I digress. Back to running, which is what this blog is about, after all.
So, anyhow, my friend & I had a good workout today. We started sometime after 6 pm, & freezed our little derrières off in 50's-ish weather. It was quite a shocking adjustment, especially after running in weather in the 80's & 90's, which was a mere two days ago. That's a drop of 30 plus degrees in 2 days! Hard to believe it's gotten so cold, so fast!
Earlier today, before our run, my friend called & told me on the phone that she'd be just fine in her T-shirt & shorts, (and this is even after I told her how cold it was outside & offered her a spare jacket several times). But of course I didn't buy it, & so, met her with an extra fleece pullover, which of course, I insisted she wear, lest she insult me by another refusal. ;-) I believe the exact words I used were, "Just take the freakin' jacket already!" ;-)
(As a side note/brief observation: My friend seems to have a particularly hard time accepting gifts or gestures, but I'm hoping she'll warm up to the idea, as she's not obligated & I certainly don't expect anything in return. I do recall one year she gave me a great holiday gift one year with a really nice note attached to it; I was touched by her thoughtfulness & understood that a reciprocal gesture was unnecessary; the mere act of expressing my appreciation was sufficient. So, I hope she'll see my gesture in the same way. The way I see it, that's ideally how friends are supposed to be. Aside from just being supportive & being there for each other, keeping confidences, and having each other's backs, it's nice to know that you can rely on a friend to help you out when you really need it, with no strings attached. It's important to help a friend when they truly need help, & not just when things are easy & going swell. Did you hear that, my friend & running buddy? Maybe if I'm really lucky, she'll happen to read this particular blog entry. ;-) )
The cold weather felt really good after we were moving, but of course, it's really important to stay warm during the warm-up & cool-down phases. Of course, this is especially true of the post-workout period, when you want to avoid getting chilled after you sweat.
Our workout wasn't too cold for the most part, but nonetheless, it was still a bit of a shock to the system, in terms of the dramatic temperature shift.
During our joint runs, I've been running with only one earphone. I do this for two reasons: To catch the CT5K podcast's interval changes & announce them to my friend, & also, of course, to hear what my friend has to say!
Our joint runs have become a time for us to share, vent, discuss, & of course bond as friends. I'm really enjoying the time we spend running & talking together! 8-)
Tonight, in addition to discussing our current running program (i.e., CT5K ), I asked my friend if she would like to continue running after we finish this program. She said that she was definitely interested in continuing to run. She seems to be enjoying the benefits of running as well, which helps make the initial running phases a lot more manageable.
I suggested that, post- CT5K, we could run the BOHR program I'm currently doing, if she was up for it, and explained a little bit about what the program entails. Since we've already discussed her initial goals & she's still in the beginning phases of the program, I purposely didn't ask about her long-term running goals, so as not to overwhelm her or obscure focus.
Right now, the goal is just to get out there & run, putting one foot in front of the other. Particularly in the beginning phases, it's important to stay in the moment, and focus on what's directly in front of your face. The piece-meal approach will keep us focused on immediate action, & makes every small step realistic & achievable. We'll worry about the other stuff later.
Nonetheless, I did tell my friend what my ultimate goals were in doing this program, i.e., it was a stepping stone to becoming a marathoner. I also explained my strategy for building stamina & strength first before worrying too much about pace or speed.
Right now, I still consider myself to be in the "building" phases of my running. I'm nowhere near ready to enter races, as my intent is to build up fitness first, and then worry about the external stuff (i.e., races, etc.).
I generally don't care about the external world (or its pressures) when I run anyhow. I run for myself, plain and simple. I run for fitness, for peace of mind, for mental clarity, for deep-seated emotional reasons, & for many other reasons. I run, not to race, not to be a world-class runner, not to impress anyone else. I run because I can. And because I now cannot stop running! ;-) But most of all, I run because I love the act of running itself. It's one of simplest, purest forms of sport I know. For me, running takes on spiritual & philosophical dimensions: How can I describe the sheer joy I find in its movement, the beauty that comes alive on the trail, the sharpening of the senses, noticing the little things that pop into view that previously might've gone unnoticed.
With my grandfather's passing, I also run to honor his memory, and as a way to keep him in my heart. I often think about him as I run, especially on my solo runs, when there's ample time & space to contemplate my thoughts in the silence. Running is a connective thread that ties me to him, even though he's not here to see me run. I really miss him, and wish I could talk to him about running, life, etc. He wasn't ready to leave this world, & still had so much life in him, which makes it harder for our family to let go. As I mentioned previously, he was spry & physically active at 94 years of age; and until his stroke at the end of June, he was swimming at the Y every day. I just can't believe he's gone. It makes me so sad thinking about it, as I wonder why someone with so much life in him can't still be here.
People have said things to me like "he's in a better place" or "he lived a long life" or "now he's not suffering anymore," but frankly those things are said to make the people saying them feel less awkward when discussing the uncomfortable topic of death. While I understand & appreciate that they are struggling with a way to communicate their sympathy, these statements are not sentiments that I can readily identify with, as he wasn't in a constant state of suffering, nor was he "ready" to die.
Just because someone's 94 doesn't mean that they are ready to give up & stop living their life. If anything, my grandfather was a fighter. [Appropriately enough, he came from Brockton, Mass., a town known for its fighters (to quote my Uncle).] He was more active & robust at 94 than some people are their whole lives. So yes, it pisses me off when people say things like this.
These statements just don't ring true, and smack a bit of insincerity, as if the person saying these things is trying to put a band-aid on your hurt to "just make it go away" without considering the humanity of the person who passed away. They just want to get back to feeling comfortable again, & retreat into their own little worlds. On top of it all, they didn't really know my grandfather or his circumstances, so it'd be much better if these people just kept their mouths shut. So to all of you insensitive idiots out there, just back the hell off & stop saying stupid-ass shite like this! (Yes, that felt good to finally get that off my chest.)
That being said, I realize that some people who've expressed sympathy clearly do not fall in this category. So thank you, nice people, for your expressions of sympathy.
Whoa, there goes another tangent. Anyhow, onto the second run of the night. It was considerably colder & probably around 7:45 pm or so. This time I ran with plenty of "fuel in the tank," so tonight's running experience was much better the previous mishap of two days ago. The temperature dropped even further, so much so, that I wore the fleece I'd just loaned to my friend, over top of the two layers I already had on. I felt like a woolly mammoth, and eventually ended up peeling off the fleece after about half-way into the run, but atleast I was warm!
All in all, the run went well. Although I was only supposed to run 30 minutes today, I actually ran a total of about 35 minutes. Again, I wanted to end up where I started, so a bit more running was required to reach that point!
I had a fairly strong sprint to the finish at the end, but kept a moderate pace for much of the run. My nose was sniffling a lot in the cold, & the overall congestion I felt was a bit unnerving, but I managed to spit my way through another run. Yes, I know that sounds really gross to say stuff like that, but that's the reality when you're running. Sometimes you just have got to get that icky stuff out of you, because it feels truly awful to try to keep it inside for the duration of the run.
Plus, it's not like I'm chewing tobacco & spitting it on the road in front of people. Now that, my friends, would be truly gross. ;-)
Speaking of which, I just thought of another benefit of cold-weather running. I noticed there were no smokers out on the trail today. That really made my night. All of the surrounding outdoor cafés, which are of course instant smoker magnets (these places are a virtual dragon's lair!), were all boarded up due to the weather, and apparently, none of these walking cancer sticks wanted to freeze their smoky, stinky little selves off outdoors in other areas. Heaven forbid, they walk the trail & puff away for other reasons than smoking. Heheheheh.
Oh happy day, it was paradise on earth! 8-)
On second thought, scratch the comment I made about smokers walking, because you just know what that means: As they walk on trail, they will leave billowing clouds of smoke in their wake to poison all of us non-smokers.
Smokers, please wake up & realize that not everyone wants to breath your disgusting smoke clouds. I don't want to pay extra for dry-cleaning to get out odors in my clothing I didn't create, nor do I want to stink to high heaven of nicotine when I didn't even smoke in the first place, and I certainly don't want to die of cancer, thanks to your ciggies. We know you love to lurk about in public places, often not giving a damn if you are inconveniencing others by blowing smoke in our faces, but please go to hell. Hahahaha.
I honestly just can't stand inconsiderate people, regardless of whether or not they smoke.
The bottom line: It's fine if smokers will do what they will in their own spaces, but I shouldn't have to breathe their stinky, poisonous air. I'm sick to death of hearing about "smoker's rights." Blah, blah, blah. What about the rights of people they are poisoning with their noxious air. Regardless of what you believe about the latest medical opinion is about second-hand smoke, I don't give a rat's ass, because I shouldn't have to breathe that stinky air in the first place. It's a public space, and you are infringing upon my "inalienable rights" of happiness and health and general well-being.
When it comes to public spaces, all bets are off, baby!
OK, I really need to end this post, as it's turning into multiple tangential rants. I just don't feel like being my usual nice & polite self tonight! So just f***ing deal! LOL. ;-)
While I'm not actually in a bad mood, the filter is completely off. So beware. Of course, it's probably too late anyhow, since, if you're still reading this, that means you've been duly warned towards the end of this post instead of the beginning! ;-)
I almost forgot to mention that I ran a few errands on foot & ended up walking an additional hour or so. Thankfully, the muscles & joints weren't too sore after all of the activity. The walk just served to further stretch out my bod a bit, which was good.
I will leave you with one last, relatively neutral thought for the evening: Looking ahead, I've got only one more 30-minute run this week before my overall running times start increasing. And then onto weekend weight-lifting.