Some Settling May Occur

It’s warm enough to wear my Nike Free shoes today and one less layer up top.  I step out the front door and into the damp morning, hopeful that the rain will hold off long enough for a good run.

The past few weeks have been sketchy running weeks for me.  I have hovered around the 30  mile mark each week, but have incorporated lots of cross-training into my exercise time.  Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, shoveling snow (yes, it counts!), extra plyometrics, longer, more intense strength training, and a weekly Svaroopa yoga class have added up to wonderful workouts with new challenges.  I have new sensations in my legs, ribs, arms, and shoulders that reveal areas I could spend more time training.

The roads are the clearest they have been in weeks and my steps are more confident.  The fear of slipping and falling drops away and I begin with the steep downhill of Atlantic Ave. with a spectacular view of Rockport Harbor.  I feel some discomfort in the top front of my right thigh, a little more in my left hamstring.  The ribs on the left side of my body ache as if I had participated in a minor bar brawl, and the outside of my right foot sort of feels as if I might have a bruised bone.  I chalk up the foot to the new winter boots I have been trudging around in, but the rest, I know, is from such varied activity.  I am starved for a long run, though, so I will just suck it up, this unwelcome and unfamiliar sprinkling of pain, and feed my hunger.

I run up Main Street and find a digital camera in the middle of the road.  I welcome the break so early in today’s run and carry the bright green metal palmful into my bank, asking the manager to take the next step in finding the owner.  I go back out and resume, feeling a little less twinge-y.  I turn onto Beach Street.  The ocean is calm this morning, the tide almost high, and the cold wind coming off the water takes my breath.

I carefully cross Granite Street and begin the dangerous segment of my run.  Cars come flying down the road, around blind corners, and I pay close attention to where I run, trying to stay as close to the snowbanks as possible.  I make it up the hill safely, and notice that my legs don’t ache as much as they did at the start of my run.

By the time I have made the loop down Phillip’s Ave. and around Andrew’s Point, I feel like myself.  My sore foot is not sore, my hamstring feels loose, the quad on the other side is good, and my ribs are letting in more air.  I pick up my pace to tempo and then sprint down the long slow hill past the old Tool Company.  I try to figure out how running is making me feel better, when I think it should make me feel worse.  All I can come up with is this:  cereal.

Food manufacturers fill plastic-lined cardboard boxes with cereal.  When the boxes are packed, they are full to the top, all shaken up with lots of space between each little piece.  The boxes are packed into cases, the cases packed into trucks, the trucks move the cereal to stores.  Each time the cereal is moved, it settles down into the box.  By the time the clerk is tossing the boxes of cereal onto the shelves, the cereal has settled so much that when we finally open it, the box has a lot of room at the top, but really, only the space between the pieces had been eliminated.  The little bits of grain, dried fruit, nuts— whatever is in that cereal box— have nestled together, compacted to their natural state, and, well, settled down.

Today’s run felt like that— as if all the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, joints, even skin— had the chance to settle back to where they belong, nestled and compact.  As if the run helped my body to return to its natural state.

I pass my house and have not had enough.  I decide to keep going now that my arms and legs are loose and easy.  I run up Smith Road and loop around Marmion Way before heading home— a sweet, settling eight miles tucked into my Saturday morning.

Explore posts in the same categories: Run notes that run into life, Training

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