Monday, August 16, 2010
For years, I’ve seen him running in all kinds of weather: hot, humid, cold, rainy. While I am riding my bike around the Kent Trails near and around the river, I see him running, faithfully, day in, day out, week in, week out. Years ago, it was two young Hispanic men running, always wearing sweats and long sleeves or maybe a short sleeved shirt depending on how hot it was. At first, they didn’t even wear running shoes, just some sort of black athletic shoe.
Over the years, the two have been reduced to one, for reasons unknown to me. I don’t know who this guy is, how old he is, although he looks fairly young, what he does for a living, where he lives, or why he runs. All I do know is he runs consistently, possibly every night in the non-snowy months, and judging from the route he takes, probably anywhere from 4-6 miles.
And this year he has evolved to wearing running shoes and using an iPod. Considering I’ve been seeing him out there for at least the past 10-12 years, I have to wonder if he ever enters any races in the area, but not knowing his name, I can’t check any results.
Instead, he remains a mystery, but he reminds me every time I see him that running is not for elites, or any specific age, race, or culture. You don't even have special clothes or shoes if you really want to do it. It is a universal way to find yourself and enjoy nature, and that clearly looks like what he is doing every time I see him.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
EARLY MORNING RISING
A while ago, I posted the question: If you had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to work out or train, would you? Most of the answers were yes! a few were if I had to, and a couple were definitely no. Joining up with the early morning swim group, 4:30 a.m. became more of a necessity than a choice. Not that I had to get up at 4:30, but I’m a morning dawdler so like to get up at least a half hour earlier than necessary so I can have that time to waste.
But as the weeks go on, I’m finding as long as I go to bed early enough, I don’t mind waking up that early, during the work week at least, and actually can’t wait to get up to swim on the days we meet. It also guarantees being up and out early enough to get in at least a short run on those days as well, in an attempt to not only beat the heat but get to work on time.
To me, there is nothing more magical than being outside in the early morning hour or so before dawn. It is quiet. The weather is usually calm. There is no one to see the look on your face as you deal with the humidity, gut out a hard set of intervals, or even the peaceful calm I feel when running in the early morning hours. Summer of course is my favorite time, and obviously the easiest, but even in the winter, with the calm in the hours before dawn, even the coldest and snowiest days its not so bad. It beats the treadmill any day.
This summer has been extremely great, even with the high humidity we have had. Its more like running through a cool sauna, where the sweat beads up on your arms, rolls down your chin and neck, and puddles around you if you stop. But after, I feel cleansed, rejuvenated, ready to start the day.
And its surprising just how many people are out running or even biking at that hour, not to mention all the dog walkers. As we pass each other, we silently nod, and go on our way, sharing that bond if only briefly.
I am going to miss the early morning swims once the weather turns or it gets too dark to see in the morning, but I hope I continue on with the early morning runs, because I am finding that is my best time of day.