Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happiness is Also Found in the Simple Things

I blogged before about the reasons I run. It's one of those things that makes you feel so good on so many levels. The greatest joys can be reached from conquering a challenge, meeting or surpassing a goal, or making the finish line at a race you've been working toward. But there are small rewards along the way too that can be overlooked. I try my best not to overlook them. The last few days have brought me joy from some of the little things connected to running. Here are some of them:

  • I tweaked my knee when out buying groceries (I know, of all things, groceries?) on Monday, when I was grabbing something from the bottom shelf. I know my body well enough now to know what to do to make sure it gets better, not worse. Patti and I did the Grouse Grind on Tuesday at a decent steady pace, which was a good quad exercise (uphill for me is good for my knees, downhill = bad). I have gigantic quads (well, in my eyes they are anywhere), and good strong knees as a result. I always find that when I work out my quads, my knees feel better if they were hurting before. Then I opted out of my Wednesday run to give the extra rest it needed to feel awesome for hill repeats Thursday. And sure enough, Thursday was awesome. It's nice to know/confirm that I can trust my own judgment about what's going with my body. I'm in tune!
  • I've been on the hunt for the perfect hill to run my repeats on. Something with an 8-10% grade, that's at least 400m long, and preferably with no stop signs or traffic signals. On Thursday I found a good hill, but the second half of it isn't as steep as the beginning. It's of course pleasant to run up at 85% effort, but not necessarily the challenge I need to be building strength. So I did my 5 repeats as planned, and then as I was running home, I took a slightly different route to ensure a 3km cool-down. And what did I find? What I believe is the ideal hill. I am not 100% sure yet, but it could be. Running up it Thursday meant it was my 6th hill, so I was kind of tired to judge. But knowing it's there waiting for me makes me excited for next week's hill repeats. That's something to be happy about - I'm such a runnerd now that I get excited over testing out new hills!
  • This morning's run was an easy, restful 4km, according to my training plan. I decided to avoid the temptation to do hills and keep it simple by running at the track. 4km at my local track is 12 laps. While running in multiple circles is only slightly more desirable to running like a hamster on a treadmill in my books, I enjoyed being on flat ground for an entire run. But what brought me joy was remembering how I used the track as my starting ground for getting back into running last year, after each of the two surgeries I had. I believe the last time I ran the track was last fall, with a bandage on my leg. At that times, I was doing one or two laps before needing a break. Today the 12 laps was considered "easy", and the only reason why I stopped running was because (a) circles are boring and( b) to save energy for tomorrow's long run. Joy this morning was recognizing how far I've come in a very tangible way.
  • And tomorrow's run is a 14km run with Patti. For our past few long runs, I've gone out her way and we've run in the New West / Burnaby region. This time, she's coming out this way. I've never run 14km on the North Shore. So I spent some time today, enjoying the sunshine and took a little drive to experiment with how to convert my 10km route into a 14km route, and make it more interesting. The route is going to take us to places I've never ran before and will loop around several regions of North Van. I then used an online tool when I got home to see if it was long enough, and it showed it to be exactly, on the button 14km :-) I'm getting good at this! Not only can I estimate distances with relative accuracy, which is exciting for the math nerd in me, but I'm continuing to find joy in discovering new ground to cover in North Van, and make it part of my running journey. And I'm so excited to take my running buddy on this route.
What little things bring you joy when you run?

1 comment:

  1. Haha, circles ARE boring.

    What brings me joy when I run is just the feeling of the air rushing into your lungs and the sound of my feet on the pavement. It's kind of meditative, hearing your feet hit the ground in a constant rhythm.

    Sometimes, I run with music, and I also love making running playlists :P