Long Runs and Runs with Friends: The Good Life
I have a ton to write about China and their first ever UCI cyclocross race, but before I get into that, I wanted to do write this post about running. That’s right, running.
Short Fast Team Run
I’d like to think that this is an accurate pace set, but this is actually at least reasonably close. NoTubes racer Jake Wells and NoTubes’ Kenny Wehn. There was a tiny lake at the hotel we were staying at (the Badaling Hot Spring Hotel and Resort–but more on that later) and around it was a small jogging path. It was, as Kenny put it, a “steeplechase course,” between the fences we had to hop and the few flights of stairs. I admit, I was actually really nervous about running with these two, especially since I hadn’t even gotten a workout in all week. But once we started, I felt awesome. Not my legs, but more mentally than anything else. This is totally corny, but it felt super pro, actually getting to train with those two. I train alone and lot and almost never, ever get to run with someone, so this was a great chance for me. And man, those dudes are fast! I kept (secretly) hoping that Jake was going to fall off the pace since he’s a bike racer not a runner, but man, those guys can both hammer!
I managed to stay with them for all five laps, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I sometimes forget how nice it feels to be out with people, not just in your own head on runs, and I need to start doing that more often. Jake was also wicked smart as far as nutrition is concerned, but more on that later. Suffice to say, I bought a new mini blender yesterday. We’ll see how life on the road treats me for the next couple weeks but I’m trying!
Anyway, short (super sweaty) short run in the books, I headed home on a 13 hour flight, which led to today’s….
Solo Long Run
Then, I was home and alone again in New Jersey. So the first thing I did, of course, was go for a two hour run in my favorite park on some really rough, rocky trails. I was a little nervous setting out because I haven’t done a two hour run in almost two months. Yikes. But with a trail marathon coming up in a few weeks, it’s time to get down to business.
Speaking of this run, I’m also attempting to use Strava more regularly, but we’ll see how that goes… (Follow me and yell occasionally, that might help.)
So, I started out on the trails. They were way rockier than I remembered, but the rocks actually felt really nice. Maybe because I just read Born to Run (again), but sometimes being out on long runs just feels so … right. I love riding my bike but sometimes I have to think too much, especially when I’m MTBing. I don’t get nervous running like I do when I’m riding, and honestly? I am good at trail running, the more technical the better. It’s the one time “technical” works in my favor.
But back to the run. It was just right. Fast, but not too fast, long, but I wasn’t wrecked when I got home. And my legs were feeling surprisingly springy, considering the long flight yesterday! With fall setting in, the temperature was just right, the trees are just starting to turn, and the lake looked stunning through the trees. More than that, I was just thinking about how good the run felt, and not thinking about it hurting, or thinking about any problems or stuff I needed to deal with in my life when I got back.
Being home and being on a run like that… it reminded me how lucky I am that this is my life. When I got home last night, I was feeling a little stressed, buried under a mountain of work. It was easy to get freaked out and want to, frankly, hop a plane back to China, or just not get out of bed. But that run reminded me to relax a little. A friend linked to this post on the Huffington Post this morning about eight ways to be happy, and I thought about it a bit after the run. #5 (“Stop with the crazy making”) is probably the biggest one. “Life is full of obstacles; we don’t need to create extra ones. A great corollary to this one is from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz: Don’t take things personally. Most of the time, other people’s choices and attitudes have absolutely nothing to do with you.” Seriously great advice, and something I need to work on.
Running, and running hard or long especially, solves that problem for me. For once, I chill out. It is fantastic. And I highly recommend it.