A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
By now, you're probably wondering how I get the ideas/titles for these posts. I have two different strategies that I find work best for me. I have a list of about two dozen different titles that have just randomly popped into my head, but aren't necessarily in line with what I'm going to write about that day (or often times I get my best ideas on days that I don't plan on/have time to blog!). The second method, is how I got today's title. After every run I spend between 30 and 60 minutes incline walking (time depends on how far I ran that day). And if I am planning on blogging that day, I utilize this time to analyze my run and come up with a topic/title/idea that seems relevant to that run specifically. This also serves to distract me from staring at the time the entire time I'm walking.
So, today's brainstorming went a little bit differently...because this idea sort of just came out of nowhere while I was running. At first, I didn't feel like it was the right topic to go into...but then during my walking (and again during my lifting so clearly IT NEEDS TO BE WRITTEN ABOUT/DISCUSSED) my mind kept going back to it...and here we are. Between miles 1 and 2 of my run this morning, I just started running with like near perfect form. Which is something that normally doesn't happen on the treadmill. However, coming back from these hip problems, it's for sure something that needs to happen more often.
And as I was gliding along, really enjoying running and getting lost in my own thoughts...I couldn't help but think back on some of my past runs from like 2 years ago. On my old 5-6 mile routes that took me on the outskirts of town, up some very, VERY steep hills, and happened during day light instead of the wee hours of the morning like they do now. And I could vividly picture and actually feel what it was like on one specific run when I was coming down past the country club/golf course and saw, out of the corner of my eye, people who I thought I knew out on the course.
This was long before I was super self-conscious about other people seeing me run (aka like I have been in the more recent past) and long before I struggled with hitting the panic button whenever I saw someone I knew while running. So, anyway, I remember exactly what I did the minute I realized I did in fact know these people and yes they did in fact see me (DUH). I adjusted my form to be perfect...like a "real runner" shoulders back, head up, arms moving at 90 degree angles and really lengthening my strides. Because, in that moment, I needed to prove to everyone (and myself) that I actually sorta kinda had the hang of this whole running thing.
I'm not entirely sure how the rest of that specific run proceeded...but I am guessing that by the time I had ran another 10 minutes or so and gotten to the next big ass hill just past the underpass...I was gasping for air and dragging ass. But, for that brief part of my run, on that long, flat straightaway...I felt invincible. Like I could run and run forever without every getting tired. And that is hands down my favorite part of running...especially when it comes to running outside.
Because, every run is different and takes you down a different path mentally and emotionally. Sometimes all you can do is focus on making in through x amount of miles (or minutes) without feeling like your going to puke your guts out. However, more often than not, running gives you the opportunity to take your mind off of your everyday worries and just think...about anything. Anything you can possibly imagine.
For me, sometimes all it takes is hearing a song or running down a certain street for what feels like the millionth time in my life...and before I know it I'm reliving that run where it was so hot I thought I was going to get heat stroke and pass out. Or that run when I completely biffed it, tripped over my own feet, and had to run the last 2 miles with my knees covered in blood. Or that run where I saw literally everyone I knew and every time I waved at someone it provided that little bit of an emotional boost that I needed to push through those last few miles.
And, what's even better, is when you're training legs in your residence hall's gym after a bad ass 4 miler and get to take yet another trip down memory lane. This time it has nothing to do with running or the outdoors. This time, it's about that one day over Christmas break (I think?) when you decided to follow Mak's advice and do walking lunges with a 25 lb. plate over your head. And your arms/legs/whole body just could not handle it. And you couldn't get more than a few feet without stopping and bursting out laughing about how ridiculous you felt/looked.
Lastly, if we're being honest, that's the reason I look forward to running outside when I'm back in my hometown. It's not the freedom, the plethora of downhills, or the chance to make 7-9 miles feel like nothing (but afterward when you're done trust me when I say it feel like a whole lotta something!). All of those things are nice, and pluses to running outside. But, what keeps me going on my toughest days or when the weather is absolute crap...is all the memories I have associated with those streets, those sidewalks, and that town.