Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Not About the Stuff!

Today I am 193.4 pounds of rolling thunder.

TV financial guru Dave Ramsey says the world will tell you that you need stuff to be a somebody -- don't listen.

The same holds true for being a runner. While everyone around you is talking about special shorts, socks, GU's, sports drinks and GPS watches, the truth is, if you've got a good pair of shoes and the desire to get moving, that's just about all you need to be a runner.

Sometime in the past few weeks Mother Nature has gone from the goddess who brought us a mild, rainy spring to an angry deity that has filled the air with humidity and pollen while spiking temperatures above 90 degrees.

Now, as you know, I'm not a great runner to begin with, but when conditions turn hot, the world's slowest human gets even slower. I walk more and probably log less distance. But you know what? It doesn't take a lot of stuff.

I grab my running shorts and shoes and head out the door as often as I can. Heck, sometimes I even throw on a shirt. My apologies to those of you who are offended by the jiggle of my extra 20 pounds, but at least I'm trying to get things under control. I'm told the weight-loss part will follow, so stay tuned for that.

Running doesn't have to be about the stuff. Not the GPS wrist watches, the special belts filled with water bottles or even the exotic running locations. It's about getting up and moving and being in the moment. It's about embracing the pain of the run and enjoying a cookie or a brownie without guilt when you're done with your exercise, regardless of how fast or slow you might be.

I believe Dave's right on this one -- as he is on so many things. It's not about the stuff, it's about the stuff inside of you that makes you a runner, so get off the couch, get moving and don't listen to others.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Smile -- Even When Your Run Slowly

June 8, 2013

Today I am 194.8 pounds of rolling thunder.

I smiled this week when I rolled through the slowest 3 miles I've ever recorded. I'm sure my time, which was just north of 40 minutes, wasn't the slowest I've ever run, but it's the slowest I've gotten an official time for.

I smiled because it was the first time in weeks that I didn't stop to walk. I rolled up and down the neighborhood hills without taking a walking break. I also hit all five stop lights along the familiar loop at just the right time, so there was no standing or jogging in place, just pure running.

And although my time was really slow -- maintaining my hold on my ranking as the world's slowest human -- it was good to know that I could still get around the course without taking a walking break. Now, would I like to be able to do more? Who wouldn't?

I'm convinced that you lay down muscle memory as a kid, and that helps you in later life. I wasn't a distance runner as a youngster, so I skipped that portion of my training life. At that time I'd rather sprint than jog, and the thought of running mile after mile for no good reason seemed really boring -- really, really boring.

At least that's my excuse for being the world's slowest human. That and an extra 20 pounds that I'd love to loan some other carbohydrate-sucking mammal as I strive to make myself healthier and just a little bit faster.

But for now, being able to do the neighborhood loop without a stop is pretty good. And a couple of days later I did it again -- OK, this time I walked five steps and hit one light on red and had to jog in place. But my time went south of 40, and hopefully I can keep rolling over all the hills.

Who knows, it's been a while since I've seen 35 minutes, but maybe it will be in me at some point. The main thing I hope is that I can keep enjoying my run and limit the amount of walking that I do.

So if you see the world's slowest runner out walking, give me a wave, it will remind me to get my wheels moving again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Every Day is the Best Day of the Year

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I've told you guys a hundred times, I'm a sucker for inspirational quotes. Even in these days of jaded pessimism, I find it inspiring whenever I get my daily dose of optimism. They are like little Easter eggs of hope that just seem to appear in my email in-basket.

So today is going to be rainy, but that's OK, a run in the rain is better than any day you ever spent piloting a desk or pushing a broom. As long as it's not the kind of rain that chills you to the bone, or is mixed with deadly lightning, there's no reason not to get out and enjoy the day.

I suppose you don't get to be a quotable writer if you have nothing of worth to say. So it is that I differ to Emerson and today's inspirational quote.

Every day is the best day, reminds me of the old Joe Namath quote about not being able to wait until tomorrow because, as he said it, he gets better looking every day.

There are days when we all just want to curl up and read a book or watch TV instead of lacing up our running shoes. There are days when it's easier to say, tomorrow or next week. That's called being human.

While my running ability is questionable at best, I know that my body needs to get out and move. I know that my mind needs the time to ramble and wander, so that I can come back refreshed and ready to tackle the important tasks of the day.

You never know when injury or illness might keep you from running, walking or whatever your chosen form of exercise might be. So you need to make every day the best day of the year. Embrace the little voice that tells you to go out and play in the rain, and shun the devil who sits on your shoulder and tells you it's too wet, or cold, or hot, or whatever.

Every day you can get up and move about is the best day in the year!