beginning of run

I am really indebted to my Invisible Friends for my run tonight. I had sort of vague plans to do some sort of exercise today, but I’d written off running because I thought it was supposed to rain all week. But then it didn’t really rain today – it was more cloudyesque. I got out of work early (yay! 1:00pm! no more of that job until 2011!) and thought I’d go right away, especially when I got a message from Sportsfan, who had just done a 5 mile run. I noticed I felt slightly envious and slightly… er, competitive. I realized I had not run in over a week.

Earlier this week I Tweeted that one’s identity as a runner has to be constantly renewed or else it kind of dissipates. It’s much like one’s identity as a writer, which I also struggle with on an ongoing basis. It doesn’t matter if one has published a book or run a half marathon– if you don’t keep going, that identity will melt away over time. It’s not like getting a professional degree, which you can just renew by sending in a check to the state every few years. I didn’t fret about “not really being a physical therapist” until about ten YEARS had passed without practicing. It’s not like that with running.

My running identity was definitely getting melty this week. I was overwhelmed with Christmas shopping and prep and a million little errands that chipped away at my exercise time.

I did some errands after work. Time was chipping away. I had some late lunch. I got kind of sleepy. But then I saw some Tweets. @Diegirl said she was either going to sleep or nap. I told HER to run. She did!

I went and put on my running stuff. By then it was almost 4pm. I sat in the car and twiddled around with my iPod, allegedly “charging it up” but I knew I was procrastinating. I tweeted so.

That got me going. Somebody noticed! Their nudges and encouraging me really got me OUT of the car and onto that trail.

Right away, I felt like something was wrong with my legs. My calves were tight as cement and felt like they had golf balls stuck in them. The first mile felt terrible.  I thought there was no way I’d make it more than a few miles. But then I cranked up the good music and just kept going. And lo and behold, by mile 1.5 the golf balls started softening up and everything started feeling loosey-goosey and a lot better.

Meanwhile, it was getting darker out. And darker. This is what happens when you start a 5+ mile run at around 4:15pm on the shortest day of the year. Whoops!

midpoint of run - getting dark

My body actually felt pretty good but I didn’t finish until close to 6pm and it was DARK DARK DARK. But it was true that I felt really good and really glad I’d gone. I was so thankful to all my invisible running friends: @letitgo8 and @diegirl who nudged me out of the car, and Sportsfan who motivated me by his own run earlier in the day, and @bitchcakesny who has been really upping her running game, and @mpkann who just returned to running after patiently healing from a hurt knee. All of you have inspired me so much. Ultimately, we are alone in this, and we make the decision whether to lace up the shoes and either go for a run or take a nap. Thank you for helping me make a good decision today.

I love my invisible community!

end of run

Oh yeah – I forgot to include DirectLife coach Erin in that invisible cheering section. I got an email from her today. We’ve been trying to work out the details of my daily Targets since coach Jen is on vacation. My activity really JUMPED around the time of the half marathon (like 300% of target) and DL asked me if I wanted to adjust it. Silly me, I said yes, but then returned to non-half-marathon life, and I’d been slacking on my percentages. So there has been some back and forth with the coaches about what my real target should be. Just these small communications also helped me feel like I am not alone, that someone out there Cares about my activity and health.

Accountability rocks.