running and writing

It’s been a while. There was a time when I committed to writing on here once a week. Then once a week became once a month, now it seems it’s almost degenerated to about once a year. After not writing for so long I find it difficult.

About a year ago I began training for my first half marathon. I began at just half a mile, slowly ramping up the mileage on my weekend run by half a mile each week. In July of last year I completed the San Francisco half marathon. Notice how I didn’t say I ‘ran’ the marathon? I finished just barely fast enough to get a finisher medal, which is to say I completed the 13.1 miles in under 3 hours. I did run a good portion of it– I made it to about mile 10 before my legs started cramping up. For the last three miles I did a mixture of walking, stopping to stretch my calves and painfully jogging when my legs would cooperate. As I crossed the finish line I felt relieved, then joyful for finishing, then painful misery as my legs completely locked up from cramping. I vowed never to run another half marathon, let alone a full marathon.

True to that vow, I have not run anything close to another half marathon. I actually didn’t even run at all for a few months after the SF half marathon. It was well into fall when I decided to try giving running another chance. That first run after laying off for so long was eye opening. It was shocking to find how difficult it was to run even a couple of miles.

Running is very different in that respect from biking. I’ve laid off of biking before–in fact I pretty much hibernate from biking every winter. As much as I love biking, I don’t love it enough to bike when it’s cold and wet. But even after several months of hibernation, once spring rolls around I’m able to hop back on the bike and do something like a 50 mile or 3 hour ride. With running I find if I stop for even a few weeks my running muscles are completely gone, and running for even twenty minutes is painful.

This is my first time writing after a long time off. I’m finding it kind of painful–but it’s not physically painful like running. My calves aren’t cramping up and I’m not gasping for air. It’s more like a mental weariness, as if my brain is a muscle that’s atrophied over time. Strangely enough, it’s the pain that actually keeps me running– it’s a reminder that my body is getting weaker if I don’t run. I don’t run a lot, mind you, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never run anything like a marathon. But just the fact that starting again after stopping is so painful keeps me motivated to go out and run at least a couple of miles each week. Maybe struggling through this first post will make me want to be more consistent about writing as well.

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