Each night I say "enough" but it doesn’t work
In the week before Xmas, I became curious about how it would feel to run every day.
The week of Xmas I ran 4km every day, and then all through January. Now, in February, I tell myself I'll stop, but I keep getting up and running.
I'm not sure why.
It started with the summer sun glowing through my bedroom window earlier and earlier each morning and tempting me to be outside. (I like to leave the windows and curtains open.)
The birds were chirping their morning songs at 5:30 am. I lay awake, listening to them.
The temperature was pleasant, unlike the daily heatwaves.
And I was curious how it would feel to run every day, something I've never tried before in my life.
I only started running - trail running - 2 years before. My running habit now is to run 5km twice a week. Once as a "tempo" run (Thursday afternoon, late), and one punctured with interval training to build my endurance (Sunday morning, early).
I replaced one session at the gym (Thursday evening) with running.
How would my body hold up, I wondered?
The more I wondered how my body would hold up, and what kind of satisfaction daily running could offer, the more I was tempted.
With the Xmas break and the prospect of the usual "slow" January with business on hold as people holidayed, I took the plunge.
I mapped out the run in my head and then ran it for the week. In my head, I visualised my trail route as a little over 3km - call it a 3km run.
I found it tiring the first week, and it took me a minute to recover my breath after each run. My left Achilles tendon was a little sore - a remnant of rolling my ankle 10 weeks ago.
But I was getting a feel for the pattern of getting out with the rising sun, warming up, and running. I didn't measure the time during that first week; I was more interested in just balancing out all the little niggles and on keeping day-by-day.
My estimated 3km turned out to be 4.3!
The second week I strapped on my phone and started Runtastic, and was surprised to see that the distance was 4.3km!
Today, it is the second week of February, and I am still waking up and running. This is the sixth week of running 4km every day.
Every day I say it's time to stop and give my body a rest.
My right hip flexor has a bit of a niggle, as does the ball of my right foot. And my left Achilles tendon still needs a little nursing. But these are "normal" discomforts that have to be managed at my age.
When I go to bed, I tell myself to take it easy tomorrow and not to get out there.
I discovered that I'm competitive with myself
But then, as I drift off to sleep, I start thinking about little things that I'd like to try on the next run. Perhaps I should have my feet straighter; maybe I should try a slightly longer stride; perhaps just one more time to see if I can break my best 1km time (4:20)?
I start to convince myself that I should run again in the morning. I hear myself thinking "If I don't do it now I might never run every day again, so I should test myself out".
I've started to understand that it is not just a runner's high that changes my mind for me every night, and gets me back on the trail each morning.
There is some kind of desire to keep up the pace - a competition with myself. I've never thought of myself as a competitive person. But it seems that I'm competitive with myself.
By the time I nod off I'm dreaming about running again!
As I drift off to sleep, I think about my current form, and how well I am doing so far, and what could be improved:
My endurance is improving, and I think that I can beat my best 1km of 4:20 while I am feeling fit.
So I'll keep running for a few weeks longer. I think that eventually, mother nature will draw a close on my early mornings, as it is dark now whereas it was light a month ago.
Why do you run? Have you had this experience of running each day and not being able to stop?
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building body-shaping training for people our age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter