Starting slowly and tapering off

Start slow­ly and taper off. That’s the slo­gan of the Dol­phin South End Run­ners, the run­ning club to which I belong. It seems that if I’m always start­ing, I’m always slow. I know I should­n’t com­pare my times against the races I ran when I was six or sev­en years younger, but but it’s hard to look at a 13 min/mile pace and feel very good about it know­ing that once upon a time I could do a short course like this at a 7:30/mile pace.

But start slow­ly and taper off tells me that I’m doing some­thing right just by being out there. I know I need some­thing to com­bat the crip­pling case of Win­ter dol­drums I’ve found myself in. Run­ning is prob­a­bly the most effec­tive nat­ur­al anti­de­pres­sant known. It’s even effec­tive in small dos­es, but it needs to be admin­is­tered reg­u­lar­ly to be effective.

Today was hot­ter than I expect­ed it to be. If I’d giv­en it some thought I would have applied sun­screen before I went out. 64 degrees accord­ing to the weath­er wid­get but it felt like 80. Direct sun­light while run­ning always feels hot­ter than it is, and San Fran­cis­co air has a habit of dis­tort­ing tem­per­a­tures to its whim. That’s why tourists go out dur­ing the day at 63 degrees in shorts and t‑shirt and end up buy­ing sweat­shirts in the after­noon when the tem­per­a­ture drops to a «freez­ing» 61º.

Today’s run also had a serendip­i­tous encounter. As I crossed 16th Street on my way back home there was a man cross­ing Car­oli­na Street. I did­n’t rec­og­nize him at first but as I was run­ning up Car­oli­na, I heard what sound­ed like, «hey, DSE!»

I looked over my shoul­der to see the fel­low, who I now rec­og­nized from DSE races, wav­ing at me. That’s def­i­nite­ly a ben­e­fit to wear­ing the club jer­sey — being vis­i­bly a mem­ber of the com­mu­ni­ty and get­ting the sup­port and recog­ni­tion from oth­er mem­bers. It does­n’t hap­pen all that often, but once in a while is all it takes.

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One Reply to “Starting slowly and tapering off”

  1. exer­cise

    Steve, You’re absolute­ly right on all counts. 1. Don’t com­pare today’s speeds to those six or sev­en years ago; 2. reg­u­lar­i­ty helps a lot; 3 being out there at all is a good thing. I wish I could “beam” you here for a cou­ple of days to enjoy snow­shoe­ing in the woods behind our house.  The snow is great this year, and the woods are qui­et, beau­ti­ful and uplift­ing. The com­bi­na­tion of the qui­et, the beau­ty and the exer­cise would chase away your win­ter dol­drums.  Keep at it. But if you get a wind­fall and an oppor­tu­ni­ty to come share the snow, do it!!

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