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.