out of town, out of shape

Ahhh, home sweet home…

I just got home last Friday after a three-week whirlwind road trip to visit my sister, who lives outside Boston. We’ve flown to Boston before, but my parents and I discovered that we really love driving and visiting all the awesome places between here and there. On the way out, we went to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan; a short stop in Mount Clemons, Michigan to visit one of my mother’s childhood homes (she was an Air Force kid); and Kinderhook, New York to visit the home of Martin Van Buren, the 8th president.

On the way home, we went to Hyde Park, New York to visit the homes of Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick William Vanderbilt; Cleveland, Ohio to visit the home of James Garfield, the 20th president; the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio; Huffman Prairie Flying Field and National Historic Site in Dayton, Ohio; and the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri.

And, oh yea, we helped my sister clean up her new house in Wakefield, Massachusetts, for a week. 🙂 We did find time to visit her “second” home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (she lives in Boston but works in Portsmouth.) It rained, so we couldn’t go to the beach (boo!), but we did spend plenty of time enjoying the city.

Whew! Yes, it was busy and crazy and I loved every minute!

Over the weekend, I got out for my first run in much too long – a month, perhaps?

I am soooo out of shape. Seriously. For the first time in months – years, maybe! – it was HARD.

Admittedly, it was hot (92 degrees Fahrenheit) and humid. Still, I was really surprised by how much I struggled! It didn’t feel good at all.

It kind of reminds me of when I first started running, over four years ago. Only that was different. When I first started running, I knew I was bad. I knew I would be slow, and it would be hard. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I was filled with the enthusiasm and determination to try. That was what carried me through the hard days, until it got easier.

Now, it’s definitely different. For one thing, I’ve done it. I’ve run many thousands of miles since I began. I don’t question whether I can do it again. Oddly, that also removes some of the challenge.

I also don’t have the naive enthusiasm of a beginner. I’ve often thought that the best race I’ve ever run was my first – a little 4-miler at the local zoo. I love running, but I know I’ll never be able to replicate the exhilaration of that first race.

Getting myself back into shape this time requires a different type of enthusiasm and determination. This time, it’s like I’m reclaiming something. Some of my favorite runs have been my long (and unscheduled) Saturday runs. Not races, not runs with other people – just me on a Saturday afternoon, jogging through my city and enjoying every minute of it. I want that again. I want to run six miles, eight miles, ten miles, feel the air running over my skin and the sun on my shoulders, and love every moment of it. I want to wonder how fast I can run down a hill, then run down it even faster.

Whoa. Started to get all poetic there. Sorry ’bout that!

I got out for another run today. It was still hard, but definitely better. The weather was better (83 degrees!), and it just felt better. There were even a few moments when I caught myself settling into the run – those moments when my mind is empty and it’s just my feet and the road.

I’m sore, by the way. Oddly enough, it feels great. 🙂

I have one more business trip/vacation later this summer – to Colorado, of all places. That will probably challenge me because of the elevation, but I’m determined to run while I’m there. (I could probably write a whole post on my reasons, but I’ll save that for another day!)

2 thoughts on “out of town, out of shape”

  1. After I had some surgery in December, I was sure I’d never get back to the runner I was before. But all of my running friends assured me that I would be surprised at how quickly it all came back. And it did. I just got a 4 minute 5K PR over the weekend, and the last half marathon I did was a 6 minute PR. There’s nothing like the agony/bliss of a good run, well run!

    1. Thanks, Paul.
      It’s interesting how running has changed my mentality about… well, running! Four and half or five years ago, before I began running for pleasure, I associated running with all the things that keep us away from exercising – I’m not an athlete, it takes time, it makes you sweaty, it’s not fun, I’ll never be good at it, blah blah. Now, even though I’m not running as far or as fast as I’d like… I’m having fun, which is pretty insane in itself, and I’m confident that I WILL get better.

      And sweaty. I’m confident that I will get sweaty, too.

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