Sunday, April 10, 2011

In which I run...outside

Went out for a run this weekend - outside.

You're probably reading this thinking, What's the big deal?

For me, outside is a big deal.

I'd been somewhat scared off running outside as the first time I did it this season it did not end well. Most of that was poor planning on my part, and since I've been trying to psych myself up to move my training outside.

This is how my internal dialogue has been going on run mornings:

Outside today?

Too cold!
Too dark!
Too cold and dark
! etc.

As I was due for a run this weekend, I got up early and went downstairs to have my usual Diet Coke and Luna Chocolate-Cherry protein bar before changing and driving to the gym. I sat on the couch and looked outside. It was gorgeous. Sunny, not too cold. Maybe today was the day to run outside.

I want to run 5Ks as they're good, attainable fitness goals. Running one race to another will keep me motivated, keep me running and, most importantly, help keep me fit. But in order to do that I have to, you know, actually run outside.

But I was worried about my hip. The last race killed it, mostly because I was an idiot didn't run outside to prepare (it actually was too cold and dark 6 am Jan.-March). The last thing I wanted to do was rip it up again and really sideline myself from running, bootcamp or any other activity.

So, what to do?

I figured out a plan. The cul de sac one street over is a 1/3-mile loop. What if I ran one loop, walked the next and repeated for, say, 37 minutes, the length my next scheduled treadmill run?

I nutted up, laced up my sneakers, turned on the Nike +iPod and took that first step.

The first running loop sucked. I felt like a marionette, arms and legs flailing all over the place. It was Week 1, Day 1 of C25K all over again. But I settled in, my form improved and the time actually went by pretty fast. It was just me, a blinding spring sun and a million Orioles darting about.

There's a slight incline on the loop, although it doesn't feel that slight when I'm running it. But I remembered tricks from my old running days - shorten your stride and keep your eyes at the top of the "hill." There was running into the wind uphill. Ah, yes, I didn't miss this at all.

But, overall, it wasn't half bad. I had a great workout and my hip was a little tender, but nothing of the magnitude I faced last month. And, most importantly, I was very proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and actually giving it a go.

I hope to jam in 2 runs outside per week and ramp up the running ratio until I can run a 5K straight. Then I can be confident about racing without major pain.

One thing occurred to while running: I automatically, subconsciously, approach any fitness-related activity with What if I fail? C25K, bootcamp, running outside - it's all: What if I can't do it? What if I don't do it perfectly?

And that, I realized, is crap. What if I can? And, note to self, I have been, um, canning really well as of late. What if everything falls into place? Sure, I may not be the best, but at least I try.

I think that's going to be my new mantra: Try. At least give it a try.

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