Howdy there, Scooters! Jenn here with a hearty thank you for spending some time with me today, and for welcoming me to Scootadoot. Being invited to be a Chick couldn’t have come at a better time for me from a personal fitness perspective because, well, I have a smallish problem/confession to reveal.
I haven’t been running since July.
I know! I know! I feel horrid about it, and I know that if I can go anywhere for advice/perspective/empathy, it’s here with you fine, understanding, people who are also pretty. *Bats lashes*
Here’s what happened. Late this summer, I hit a bit of a fitness rut. Three things were working against me, the worst of which was some rather uncomfy heel pain in my left foot. Worrier that I am, I diagnosed it as the beginnings of plantar fasciitis, because I’m not a doctor. The remedy I chose was to stop running for a spell and stick with walking, deep tissue massage, and a gait analysis at the Boulder Running Company resulting in a new pair of New Balance kicks. Turns out, I was over pronating on the left, and my old kicks, which I loved otherwise, were too narrow.
The second evil keeping me from my fitness goals is school. The semester started in August, and since I work full time and go to school part time, fitness time is super hard to come by. Enough said because really, I know I have to make time. Lastly (and I have a feeling this is one you have likely encountered), boredom had a firm hold on me. I was bored with running. I was bored with my playlist, bored with the jarring repetition of bouncing, and most of all, I was super bored with my usual, close-to-home route. My routine had become stagnant, and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.
With my first 13.1 race at the 2015 Atlantic City April Fools Half looming on the horizon, it was time to make a major change. So this week, I did something I’ve wanted to do since I started running, I hit the trails! Well, actually it was only one trail, the Davidson Mesa Loop in Louisville, Colorado. It’s a trailhead that I’ve driven by countless times over the course of my life and have never explored. And because I’m brilliant, I did absolutely no research on the trail before I got there. The only thing I did know was that the views were fabulous. Without a thought to terrain difficulty or elevation changes, my trusty running companion, Coco, and I were in the car and off for an adventure!
As expected on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon , the trail was busy with cyclists, walkers, dogs and their humans, and a handful of fellow runners. The adjacent dog park was bustling with the expected sniffing and fetching and blurs of flowing fur romping about. Coco would have none of that silliness, thank you very much, and we turned to the trail spreading wide and open and prettily before us. The freshly dusted snow-capped Indian Peaks sparkled behind the Flatirons overlooking Boulder, and it seemed as though Coco and I had the trail all to ourselves. We were off, and set a brisk walking pace to warm up.
Luckily for me because, like I said, I’m brilliant and do no research, this trail was cake. The gravel path was wide, clean and well maintained. It’s a short, flat 2.7 mile loop that runs through an open space on a mesa overlooking the Boulder valley. Most importantly for my out-of-shape boot-ay is that the elevation change is a mere 67 feet. This is muy importante because in Colorado, a “trail” can be like the Manitou Incline and increase in elevation 2000 feet in 1 mile with a 40% grade. Lesson learned here was to research the trail before you drive 15 miles to get to it. Because duh.
Grateful that we were on a flat, easy, soft path, Coco and I jogged at a leisurely pace. The weather was beautiful, in the mid-60s and the breeze carried the sounds of chirping birds and happy, yipping dogs. With each footfall, I could feel the magic of running return. I contemplated my connection to the earth beneath my feet and how I depend on it to catch me and propel me forward. Coco looked back at me with a smile, happy to be running again and exploring new territory. We came to a bench, and I noticed an inscription.
Looking up, I took in the vista and felt overwhelmed with gratitude.
This is what keeps me running. The connection to the environment when I’m out there with my thoughts and my pup and my freedom. I always forget how much running benefits my mental health, not just my physical health. This is what I need to remember when I feel like I don’t have time, or when I’m cozy warm in my bed and don’t want to get up early to run, or when I’m just plain being lazy.
Eager to keep exploring, we started again. My pace was poor and Coco was so happily enthralled in all the new things that she kept pulling me off my gait. It didn’t matter. I was out there, in the sunshine under a brilliant blue sky and the fog was lifting. I wasn’t in front of my computer. I wasn’t stuck at home doing math problems. I was out in the world being human. I was free!
Stopping to tie my shoe, my Momentum shoe tag reminded me that what I perceived as the main obstacle to running, my lack of time, is really an excuse. I must make time for running. I need to make time for fitness. I have to make time for myself.
How do you fight fitness boredom? What unexpected benefits do you get from getting out there? Tell me in the comments!