Monday, May 11, 2015
Thoughts on a long run
It's tough getting back into the game once you've been out for so long. .At least, that's how I feel about keeping up with this blog post. It's been so long since I last posted and it's likely that another period of disappearance will occur again soon though I hope this will not be the case.
Today's post is spurred by thoughts during yesterday's run. Recently, it's been a bit more difficult keeping up with my weekend long runs. I've been hoping to get in a 4 hour run for the past 3 weekends at least, but each weekend morning, for whatever reason, it doesn't happen. So I've been settling for 3 hour runs or 20 milers at times. I've only gone as long as 26.2 miles in my training for the 32 mile trial run I will be participating in on Memorial Day, but I think my fitness and will to finish will keep me going the remaining miles. I just hope Mother Nature's winding trails and elevation gains and drops don't prove otherwise.
I have been asked many times what I think about when I'm running for hours on end. I would reply that I don't really remember and that is generally the truth. I'm either in a zone where I'm not thinking of much except about my route, my breathing, and my body or my thoughts are bouncing all over the place. During yesterday's run, there was a mix of both scenarios.
I began by thinking about a fantasy/dream/goal I have which is to complete a run across the country. I even gave this journey a name: "The Long Run Home" as it would be from Portland to my previous permanent residence in NJ where my parents live. I also fantasized that it could be a documentary filled with the raw emotional highs and lows of a long endurance endeavor that are bound to fill any person willing to undergo such a journey. The documentary and journey would be sponsored by Asics (my favorite running company), Clif Bar (I would consume many Clif products incuding electrolyte packages, gels, and bars), and other vegan/plant-based companies as a main focus of this long run would be that I would be completing it eating entirely vegan and GF when possible.
And at other times....my thoughts become a bit more realistic.
(not my photograph)
For miles 4-7, I was running on the esplanade along the Willamette River and, as anyone here in Portland will attest, came across many homeless individuals many of whom with dogs as pets. I couldn't help wrestling with my feelings about this situation. Since January, Val and I have seen plenty of homeless persons with dogs, but yesterday was different for me. This one particular dog was just smelling the grass near his/her owner which isn't anything out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary is how defined its rib cage was when it wasn't even taking in deep breaths. For the next mile or so I went back and forth with how I felt about homeless people having dogs. There are so many factors that could be considered and one would also need to decide if their major concern is for the homeless person or for the animal...I just had to backspace about 2-3 sentences of explaining my stance because it's just so complicated. If I'm for the animal and don't want the animal in the care of someone without secure means to properly care for an animal, what happens to all of the animals in the care of the homeless in this area? Shelters? Homeless and stray themselves? What's the better situation? These are the kind of thoughts that run through my head. There must have been a hundred more, but that's all I remember.
This is part of why I run, though. I run because I just love it and you should do what you love. But I think I crave it at times because I just need to clear my head sometimes and get my creative juices flowing even if these creative juices only remain ideas in a cloud somewhere in my head.
I'm eager to continue blogging and I may begin to include posts about our recent love-interest with hiking as well as my experience as a track coach during this current season which ends in just a couple of weeks.
This post is very wordy, so I promise next time to appease those who prefer more pictures and broken up posts.