Once more, this time with air

This is the run I’d real­ly meant to run Sun­day. While this time I neglect­ed to put the inhaler in my pock­et, I did take a puff short­ly before head­ing out. It was a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence being able to breathe. I’m not in great shape and I have a long way to go. but more days like today I can take. Attempts like Sun­days, I just can’t.

Despite not get­ting far on Sun­day, my calves were still painful­ly tight today even after stretch­ing. As usu­al, get­ting start­ed was the hard­est part. When run­ning, I have a not-so-secret weapon: *slow, don’t stop.* When I get to the point where I feel I need to stop, instead I dial down the inten­si­ty and slow the pace down. No mat­ter how slow I go, I can always go slow­er. That gives me a lit­tle rest with­out killing what­ev­er iner­tia I have. I usu­al­ly don’t have to tell myself to speed up, as with­in a cou­ple of min­utes I’m back up to the old pace with­out mak­ing any deci­sion to. There are phas­es of train­ing where such a tech­nique would be inap­pro­pri­ate, but for get­ting out onto the road and keep­ing it going it’s fantastic.

I did­n’t stop to walk until I was almost at Crown Point Beach, where I took a few pho­tographs and walked until my heartrate got down below 150 before start­ing up again. It was an achieve­ment to push through to the point where the dif­fi­cul­ty lev­els off. It’s nice to know that point still exists for me. After a mile or so my legs get warmed up and while it would be a lie to say the run­ning becomes effort­less, the men­tal por­tion at least eas­es up and I feel like I could sus­tain the pace indef­i­nite­ly. It’s one thing to remem­ber such a point exists, and such a very dif­fer­ent thing to expe­ri­ence it, have the men­tal space plant a flag and declare its ter­ri­to­ry in my psyche.

I did­n’t get many pic­tures as the sun was already set by the time I got to the beach. I chose to run back on the side­walk rather than take my shoes off and run in the sand. There will be more oppor­tu­ni­ties for that; it seemed impor­tant not to break the flow I had. There were a cou­ple points where I slowed to a walk for short while, but most of the way back I was lift­ing my feet off the ground.

I can­not say enough good things about switch­ing to a fore­foot land­ing in very shoes with thin soles rather than run­ning with a heel-strike in thick­ly-padded shoes. I remem­ber being thir­ty pounds lighter than I am today and hav­ing a run trash my knees. For a while I was stuck feel­ing as though I was too heavy to run safe­ly. I’m not par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py about hav­ing as much extra weight as I’m car­ry­ing around now, but it is a great relief to not have to avoid run­ning because of it. As it turns out, human feet are actu­al­ly good at pro­tect­ing knees, at lease so long as we use them instead of slam­ming our heels into the pave­ment and call­ing that run­ning. Cer­tain­ly there are folks who would scoff at me describ­ing the Kin­varas as «min­i­mal­ist» shoes, but they are light­weight and thin-soled with­out much heel to speak of. No mat­ter what you call it, these shoes are much clos­er to how we ought to run.

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