Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spandex, A Warm Hat and the Proper Playlist

I have never been much of a runner. Even at my best, I would like to call myself a runner, but I am nowhere near the die-hards. Nonetheless, I do run. I joined my high school's track team my freshman year, but as a thrower for the javelin; it was not until sophomore year, when I switched to the sprinter's group did I really start running. The itinerary consisted of numerous drills, sprints, exercises, and runs up hills at Washington Park. Sticking with sprinting the remaining three years of high school helped launch me into the first emergence when I truly was a runner for a brief summer. I still do not quite call myself a runner, since now as in all my life, I diversify. In high school, I was a three sport athlete. In addition, swimming and anything water related has always been, and always will, be my first love.

Junior year in high school I began running even when it wasn't track season. Initially it was as a break from swimming and the desire to be active for pre-season of track. The season came and passed in the spring, yet I kept going. That summer, I ran five to six days a week generally in the mornings. To this day, I'm not sure how I managed to have that much motivation to wake up early and run during the summer, normally before 7 am. I guess it was better than roasting. I ran between three and six miles every day. While there can normally be an bit of an initial struggle with new exercise routines, I do not remember any such hurdle. All I remember is a sense of being free. There is tranquility for me in swimming, but there is freedom in running.

May it be the morning wind rushing to greet you, the view from looking back after a hard hill, or just the air tingling against your skin, there is a freedom in running. I generally run during the Thanksgiving break because I am away from a pool, however, it's normally a little jaunt around my uncle's neighborhood. This morning, I joined my aunt and several of her friends at a large park at the base of a hill, called "Mountain Park". It was blustery, it was around 31 degrees and I couldn't be happier. Staying with them for the first lap around a local football field, I broke off after to run the large figure eight and off trail runs. There was me, the sky, the ground below me, and that biting bitter wind.

I oscillate between swimming shape and running shape. The two never seem to want to coincide, but remain like oil and vinegar, so while I am sure this is no great feat for some of my runner friends, I was pretty damn proud to run four miles and then rejoin to walk with my aunt's company for the total of an hour.I have not run four miles straight in a while. I have done it before, but it is primarily an challenge of willpower, not of physical stamina. Breaking free of personal limitations, running is empowering. Running is beating yourself, beating a friend, and telling the wind to blow off because you've got your gloves and warm hat on. With the proper playlist and spandex protection, you are invincible. Swimming is tranquility; running is freedom.

EDIT: I normally don't do this, adding topics, notes or editing my blog posts in general, but well the coffee I had at 7 am has definitely worn off. I would like to run more at school, I really would, but my body no longer can stand waking up before 8. This leaves me running after work, around 10 pm, but while I can battle the cold, I cannot battle the neighborhood lack of safety in Troy, thus leaving me to settle for a treadmill at the gym. Last time I ran outside after 9 pm in the winter was when I needed a release or social holocaust would ensue. The time before that, well a good friend tries to prohibit me from running late unless I somehow acquire a Batman quality utility belt full of mace, a light, probably a small knife, and general anti-abducting anti-rape supplies.

Anyone want to help me make a utility belt?

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